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Exhaustively researched, and stunningly presented with photographs, paintings and portraits, Anne Hall’s Angela Thirkell: A Writer’s Life is unquestionably essential reading for Thirkell enthusiasts, and also comes recommended for aficionados of literary history. After being immersed by this lively biography, I look forward to discovering Thirkell’s novels.
As the granddaughter of Pre-Raphaelite painter and designer Edward Burne-Jones, goddaughter of J.M. Barrie, cousin to Rudyard Kipling, and having a grandmother who counted George Eliot among her friends, it’s perhaps little wonder that Angela Thirkell forged a creative life for herself. Born in Kensington in 1890, her childhood was cosmopolitan, with a family friend jokingly suggesting that he preface her memoir stating that she was “between the ages of four and nine the most terrifying female I have ever met.” In her youth, Thirkell was described as having formidable wit and breath-taking beauty, attending fancy dress balls in extravagant, enchanting costumes, and never suffering male fools gladly.
While divorce brought scandal, it also - ultimately - brought Thirkell to writing, for it wasn’t until she married her second husband and moved with him to Australia that she began to write, initially for financial reasons. Some eleven years later, in 1929, Thirkell suddenly left her second husband and returned to England, where she went on to write more than thirty books, beginning with her Three Houses memoir and closely followed by her mischievously comic, bestselling Barsetshire novels, now published by Virago. Forensically detailed, with broader bigger-picture appeal, this is a fine biography.
Born in London in 1890, Angela Thirkell was Sir Edward Burne-Jones's granddaughter, J.M. Barrie's goddaughter and a cousin of Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin. John Collier painted her portrait and she was drawn by John Singer Sargent and Thea Proctor. Between 1931 and her death in 1961, Angela published more than thirty books in a variety of genres. She began with the acclaimed family memoir Three Houses and later settled on her amusing Barsetshire series, inspired by Anthony Trollope but set in the present day. Angela Thirkell: A Writer's Life tells the author's story from her Kensington childhood to her two marriages and the birth of three sons, Graham McInnes, Colin MacInnes and Lance Thirkell, all of whom also entered the literary world. The book traces her decade in Australia where she wrote for magazines and newspapers and made radio broadcasts, followed by her return to London and her fortuitous meeting with a young publisher called Jamie Hamilton, which lead to her bestselling Barsetshire novels.
Publication date: 15/03/2021
Publisher: Unicorn Publishing Group
|Publication date:||15th March 2021|
|Publisher:||Unicorn Publishing Group|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Creativity, History,|
|Categories:||Biography: literary, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers,|
Anne Hall was born in Boston, Massachusetts and studied English and Comparative Literature at Radcliffe College and the University of Washington. After taking a PhD in French at the University of California, Berkeley, she moved permanently to France. For several years she taught English at Universite de Tours and Universite d'Aix-Marseille. Since then she has published a series of articles and books on Daphne Du Maurier, George Du Maurier and their ancestors, most recently The Du Mauriers Just as They Were (Unicorn, 2018).More About Anne Hall