A twentieth-century British writer, poet, educator, and literary critic, he is best remembered for his humorous novels. His most famous works include Lucky Jim and That Uncertain Feeling.
He was associated with the Angry Young Men literary movement of the 1950s.
He and W.H. Auden served as editors of different editions of the same British poetry anthology.
He studied at St. John's College, Oxford and served briefly in World War II.
He had three children, Margin, Sally and Philip, with his first wife, Hilary Bardwell, before leaving her for his second wife, Elizabeth Jane Howard.