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Winifred Holtby (1898–1935)

Author of South Riding

23+ Works 2,172 Members 91 Reviews 14 Favorited

About the Author

Works by Winifred Holtby

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of First World War Stories (2007) — Contributor — 110 copies
The Virago Book of Ghost Stories: The Twentieth Century, Volume 1 (1987) — Contributor — 78 copies, 3 reviews
Revenge: Short Stories by Women Writers (1990) — Contributor — 49 copies
A Century of Humour (1934) — Contributor — 42 copies
The Second Persephone Book of Short Stories (2019) — Contributor — 28 copies
Trial and Terror (1973) — Contributor — 15 copies
Gender in Modernism: New Geographies, Complex Intersections (2007) — Contributor — 12 copies, 1 review
South Riding [2011 TV mini series] (2011) — Original book — 11 copies
Mystery and Adventure Stories (1937) — Contributor — 2 copies

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Birthdate
1898-06-23
Date of death
1935-09-29
Burial location
All Saints Churchyard, Rudston, Yorkshire, England, UK
Gender
female
Nationality
UK
Birthplace
Rudston, Yorkshire, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Cause of death
kidney failure (Bright's disease)
Places of residence
Rudston, Yorkshire, England, UK
London, England, UK
Education
governess
Queen Margaret's School, Scarborough
Oxford University (Somerville College)
Occupations
novelist
journalist
lecturer (League of Nations Union)
director (Time and Tide)
Relationships
Brittain, Vera (companion|1919|Holtby's death|1935)
Organizations
Independent Labour Party
Six Point Group
Time and Tide
Short biography
Winifred Holtby, a prolific writer and committed pacifist, met Vera Brittain in 1919. The two writers developed a close friendship and they shared a home and care of Brittain's children for many years until Holtby's death. See Brittain's "Testament of Friendship" (1940).

Members

Discussions

158. South Riding by Winifred Holtby in Backlisted Book Club (March 2022)
BRITISH AUTHOR CHALLENGE - Between the Wars - HOLTBY & GRAVES in 75 Books Challenge for 2017 (October 2017)
South Riding in Virago Modern Classics (August 2011)
February: Reading Winifred Holtby in Monthly Author Reads (February 2011)

Reviews

“We're so busy resigning ourselves to the inevitable that we don't even ask if it is inevitable. We've got to have courage, to take our future into our hands. If the law is oppressive, we must change the law. If tradition is obstructive, we must break tradition. If the system is unjust, we must reform the system.”

This is a classic novel set in a village in Yorkshire, the author’s home county, first published in 1936 after Holtby had died at age 36 of kidney disease. The book takes in a range of issues such as local politics, socialism, poverty, and the impact of the war and the influenza pandemic. It also has a colourful array of characters: the village councillors, in particular, the feisty female alderman Mrs Beddows, the straying minister Huggins, and returned spinster school ma’am Sarah Burton. Holtby describes the villagers with wit and charm reminiscent of Jane Austen.

Sarah is a strong, feminist character with modern ideals and a zest for life, who finds herself attracted to Robert Carne, a struggling conservative upper class landowner who is battling with the financial challenge of maintaining his estate, dealing with his institutionalised wife and with his own failing health. Sarah deals with her own work-related challenges: a frustrated scientist become science teacher, a talented student whose impoverished home situation steals her opportunities, and Robert’s turbulent daughter Midge.

I loved the writing in this book. Strangely I usually detest writers that use tell instead of show techniques but this story illustrates that it can be done well with some humour and insight. I have not seen the TV mini-series connected with this, but am now inspired to do so. What a shame this author’s life was so tragically cut short, she seems like a fascinating person.
… (more)
 
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mimbza | 40 other reviews | Apr 8, 2024 |
Quite an interesting collection of journalism, covering feminism, politics, and the writer’s life. Of the topics covered, the feminism section was the most interesting (and at times the most disheartening because of how little some things have changed). I preferred Winifred Holtby‘s over Vera Brittain‘s because Holtby‘s writing is more direct, but both women were interesting to read. Recommended if you like either of these writers.
 
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rabbitprincess | 1 other review | May 17, 2023 |
A glorious tapestry of lives and ambitions, populating a small community over two years with their loves, intrigues, greed, and tragedy. Punctuated by occasional speechifying. Over the whole thing hangs the knowledge that Holtby was gravely ill and only finished the novel a month before she died.
½
 
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adzebill | 40 other reviews | Apr 28, 2022 |
This felt a bit like an updated Trollope. It had been on my To Be Read list for a long time. I'm very glad I finally got to it. Good characters (something I'm always looking for). Interesting look at small town politics in Britain between the wars. A good read, though not a quick one.
 
Flagged
njcur | 40 other reviews | Jan 25, 2022 |

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Statistics

Works
23
Also by
11
Members
2,172
Popularity
#11,815
Rating
3.9
Reviews
91
ISBNs
76
Languages
3
Favorited
14

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