Ann Quin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ann Quin (1936-1973) was a British writer noted for her experimental style. The author of Berg (1964), Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972), she committed suicide in 1973 at the age of 37, the same year as B.S. Johnson (to whom she is often compared). More recently Stewart Home has written in admiration of her work, which remains largely overlooked to this day.

Quin is associated with a loosely-constituted circle of 'experimental' authors in Sixties Britain, headed by B.S. Johnson and including Stefan Themerson, Rayner Heppenstall, Alan Burns and Eva Figes.

Quin came from a working-class family and was educated at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament. She trained as a shorthand typist and worked in a solicitor's office, then at a publishing company when she moved to Soho and began writing novels. Her first, Berg, was published by John Calder in 1964. Visibly influenced by Virginia Woolf and other female British modernists, as well as the French nouveau roman, the powerful opening line - "A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside intending to kill his father..." - set the tone for a dark, psychological farce set in Quin's home town, which became the most critically-acclaimed for her four novels.

Berg was followed by Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972), in which Quin continued her formal experimentation, although without making the same critical impact as she had with her debut. She committed suicide in 1973, drowning herself by swimming out into the sea off Brighton's Palace Pier, weeks before the death of her contemporary B. S. Johnson.

Despite a complete re-print of her works by the Dalkey Archive Press, Quin's critical stock has rather declined since the Sixties, although contemporary non-mainstream authors such as Stewart Home have cited her work as influential.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ann Quin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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