By Claire Harman

The poet Sylvia Townsend Warner rose to surprising repute with the book of her vintage feminist novel Lolly Willowes in 1926, yet by no means turned a standard member of London literary existence, pursuing in its place an extended writing occupation in her personal individualistic demeanour. Cheerfully defying social norms of the day, Warner lived in an brazenly gay dating with the poet Valentine Ackland for nearly 40 years. jointly, they have been dedicated individuals of the Communist social gathering and travelled two times to Spain through the Civil battle, yet Warner paid for her outspokenness with years of forget, and channelled a lot of her emotional and highbrow power into letters, poems and heart-breaking diaries that remained unpublished in the course of her lifetime. during this enchanting and enlightening biography, Claire Harman tells the tale of Warner's impressive existence and restores her to her rightful position as one in every of Britain's most unusual and terrific writers

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Extra resources for Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography

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The considerable difficulty of keeping this secret in the closed society of the Hill was partly assuaged by the satisfaction Sylvia derived from conducting such an affair (Buck was married, had five children and was twenty-two years her senior) under her mother’s nose. Sylvia remained Buck’s mistress for the next seventeen years, during which time he was, in his unassuming way, immensely influential over her, and though she had several other lovers as a young woman, none was so much her equal as ‘Teague’.

When Nora’s father Colonel Josiah Hudleston and his wife Fanny were living in Madras they were well-respected (Josiah’s cousin William had been sometime Governor) and prosperous, and Nora recalled those days vividly: She began to unpack this astonishing storehouse, full of scents and terrors, flowers, tempests, monkeys, beggars winding worms out of their feet, a couple of inches a day, not more, or the worm broke and you had to begin again, undislodgable holy men who came and sat in the garden, the water carrier’s song – and as she talked as much for her own pleasure as mine, and made no attempts to be instructive or consecutive, I never tired of listening.

I was foolish enough at Harrow to think my prosperity would last forever’, the Reverend George lamented in 1861 to his son, also George Townsend Warner (known to his parents as ‘Townsend’), then expensively idling at Trinity College, Cambridge, and showing more enthusiasm for racquets than for Classics. When the Warners moved from Harrow to Torquay, where the Reverend George took over the running of Highstead School, their fortunes turned and never recovered. Bad health, money worries and a touching, if rather overwhelming concern for his son’s spiritual welfare, dogged the ageing headmaster, whose own devoutness was solemn and simple.

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