Carr, Joseph Lloyd

Primary school teacher and novelist, he was born on 20 May 1912 near Thirsk, Yorks., into a staunch Wesleyan family. His father, Joseph, was a local preacher. 'If J.L. Carr had one foot in the late twentieth century, the other was firmly in a Wesleyan Methodism unchanged since Victorian times. This mindset he owed to his family.' (Byron Rogers, p.25)

After training at Dudley Training College, he taught in Yorkshire, Hampshire and Birmingham, served in the RAF during the War, then in 1951 became the headmaster of a primary school in Kettering. He retiresd early to indulge his interest in publishing.He died on 26 February 1994.

The 'jaundiced view of Methodism' he presented in A Season in Sinji derived from his memory of being persuaded to make a decision for Christ in his teens. Later in his life he summed up his religious standpoint: 'I can't believe in the super-being of the familiar prayer. But I do believe that a holy spirit is within most of us (in greater or lesser degree) as I've seen many a time in children's faces and in the way some men and women live.' (Rogers, p.44) Towards the end of his life he 'turned churchman', more through an interest in architecture than through doctrine; and the influence of the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) on his style has been detected.. He is remembered chiefly for his novel A Month in the Country (1980), which reflects the Yorkshire of his boyhood, was short-listed for the Booker Prize and was adapted for the cinema and television screens..

  • Byron Rogers, The Last Englishman: the life of J.L. Carr (2002)
  • Oxford DNB


Category: Person
Comment on this entry