Peter Barnes Biography | Author of The Ruling Class

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Peter Barnes was born January 10, 1931, on London's East Side to parents of mixed religious backgrounds. His father was a British Protestant who willingly and rather superficially converted to Judaism to marry a Jewish woman. Although the family was not particularly religious, Barnes developed a fascination with the topic of religious belief and God, a fascination he explores in most of his major works. His other major theme is also believed to have originated from his family: an obsession with the ruling elite, its excesses and perversions—a contrast with his own working-class upbringing. Barnes did not finish secondary school and did not attend university but rather educated himself, believing that formal schooling corrupts the true artist.

Through his studies, Barnes developed a deep appreciation for Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson (The Alchemist), considering his work superior to that of his contemporary William Shakespeare, whom Barnes found snobbish and pretentious...

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This section contains 424 words
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The Ruling Class from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.