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John Pick

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "John Pick, who has died aged 93, was an influential voice in Scottish literary criticism and brought a number of neglected Scottish writers to a wider readership.
    J B Pick (as he was known to his readers) was also a poet and novelist – his novel The Last Valley was made into a film starring Michael Caine and Omar Sharif – as well as a journalist and critic. His distinctive contribution to literary scholarship was his work as the biographer of the Highland novelist Neil Gunn (and as editor of his Selected Letters), and in reviving the reputation of the writer David Lindsay (1876-1945). Lindsay was the author of powerful and original metaphysical fiction on the meaning of life, evil and death which captured the imaginations of writers such as L P Hartley, T  S Eliot, C S Lewis and Desmond MacCarthy.
    Pick presented the most penetrating explanation of Lindsay’s thought out of all those – such as Colin Wilson, and the French scholar Bernard Sellin – who have attempted the difficult task. In The Great Shadow House: Essays on the Metaphysical Tradition in Scottish Literature (1993) Pick traced the development of the literature of “inner truth” in Scotland and Lindsay and Gunn’s place in it.
    Pick and his wife also befriended David Lindsay’s widow and did much to brighten her last years.
    John Barclay Pick was born in Leicester on December 23 1921. His father Sydney was the director of Pick Knitwear, which had manufactured “knitted outerwear” locally for more than 60 years. John’s mother was Scottish, and holidays in the Highlands as a child fostered a lifelong love of its scenery and literature. He was educated at Sidcot, a Quaker school in Somerset, and, for a year, at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
    His degree studies were interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939. As an 18-year-old conscientious objector, he joined the Friends’ Ambulance Service, training in life-saving and hospital work in London during the Blitz. In 1943 he met and married Gene Atkinson. Later in the war he volunteered to work in the coal mines, sharing the miners’ lives for 18 months."

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