Cox, C. B. 1928–2008

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Cox, C. B. 1928–2008

(Brian Cox, C. Brian Cox, Charles B. Cox, Charles Brian Cox)


See index for CA sketch: Born September 5, 1928, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England; died April 24, 2008. Educator, poet, editor, and author. Cox was a professor of English at the University of Manchester for nearly thirty years, retiring in 1993 as the John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature. For an even longer period, beginning in 1959, he was a founding coeditor of the Critical Quarterly, which became highly respected as a publisher of emerging poets such as Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Philip Larkin. His lifelong commitment, however, was to education—from the primary level through university. Despite Cox's scholarly and literary achievements, it was his activism on behalf of education that thrust him into public view as the creator of the "black papers." There were five black papers in all—collections of articles by various contributors who were critical, as Cox was, of the demise and current state of education in British schools. Cox lamented the loss of the quality in education that he had received as a youth and wished to restore it for his own children and other generations to follow. The papers generated much controversy, political debate, and media attention. For Cox, their publication led to additional responsibilities as a member of the Kingman committee to create an English language curriculum in 1987, among other appointments. Cox had also begun editing book-length collections of work by other poets and publishing his own poetry, including Every Common Sight (1981) and Two-Headed Monster (1985). Upon retirement from academic life, Cox continued his civic involvement as chair of the North-West Arts Board. He published an account of his committee work in Cox on Cox: An English Curriculum for the 1990s (1991), followed by an autobiography a year later. Cox continued to write poetry as well, publishing Emeritus in 2001 and My Eightieth Year to Heaven as recently as 2007. Altogether he wrote or edited more than forty books. His dedication to the education of British youth was acknowledged in 1990, when Cox was decorated a commander of the Order of the British Empire.



Cox, Brian, The Great Betrayal, Chapmans (London, England), 1992.


Times (London, England), April 30, 2008, p. 59.