William Cooper

Scenes from Provincial Life
  • Scenes from Provincial Life

  • Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain. When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood. All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling.

    William Cooper's Scenes from Provincial Life was first published in 1950, when Joe Lunn was one of the first breed of ordinary male anti-hero protagonists to appear in English fiction. Joe's exploits and ordinariness, as he tries to avoid his mistress Myrtle's attempts to trap him into marriage, brilliantly poke fun at what were, and often remain, the taboo subjects of sex and class. Published at the beginning of the decade, William Cooper's novel ushered in books like Lucky Jim and Room at the Top in the 1950s.

    This edition also contains the sequel, Scenes from Married Life.

William Cooper was the pen-name of Harry Huff, born in Crewe in 1910 and educated at Cambridge. He began teaching in Leicester in the mid30s, and set his seminal novel Scenes from Provincial Life there. During the war he served in the RAF, and later became a civil servant working among other things for the Atomic Energy Commission. He wrote over a dozen novels, and lived for a long time in Putney, London where he died in 2002.