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Legacy Library: Barbara Pym

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Collected poems, 1909-1935 by T. S. Eliot

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Member: Barbara_Pym

CollectionsYour library (619), Hilary's books (16), Read but unowned (10), All collections (644)

Reviews18 reviews

Tagsfiction (222), novels (199), poetry (172), anthologies (63), biography (51), autobiography (28), english (28), literary criticism (27), religion (23), authors (18) — see all tags

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About meBarbara Mary Crampton Pym was born in Oswestry on 2 June 1913, the elder of two daughters of a Shropshire solicitor, Frederic Pym and his wife, Irena. Precociously talented as a writer, Pym read English at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, where she began keeping an extensive diary-chronicle of her social and romantic life, episodes from which inspired some of her later novels. After gaining a second class degree in 1934, she began work on Some Tame Gazelle, for Henry Harvey ('Lorenzo'/'Gabriel') with whom she had fallen in love while an undergraduate. Between 1935 and 1950 Pym wrote several short stories (a form which she disliked) and the novels Civil to Strangers, Gervase and Flora, Crampton Hodnet and most of Excellent Women, before Some Tame Gazelle was published by Jonathan Cape in 1950. A decade of popularity followed with the appearance of Excellent Women (1952), Jane and Prudence (1953), Less than angels (1955), and A Glass of Blessings (1958), before Pym's style and subject matter became unfashionable in the 1960s. When Cape refused to publish An Unsuitable attachment in 1963, Pym entered a fifteen year period of literary neglect until Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil named her as the most underrated writer of the twentieth century in an article in the Times Literary Supplement on 21 January 1977. Quartet in Autumn was published on 1 September 1977 and marked the beginning of a renaissance for Pym, who had the satisfaction of seeing Quartet in Autumn short-listed for the Booker Prize, and several of her earlier novels reissued before her death from cancer on 11 January 1980.

About my libraryThe main source is the card catalogue of Barbara Pym's library, compiled by her sister Hilary Walton in 1981, and held in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (Shelfmark: MS. Pym 175 = Res.). Additional entries have been made and some descriptions enhanced with details from Blackwell's Rare Books catalogues, produced when the library was sold after the death of her sister in 2005, and from the examination of extant copies.

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Real nameBarbara Pym

LocationFinstock, Oxfordshire

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Account typepublic

URLs /profile/Barbara_Pym (profile)
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Member sinceOct 9, 2012

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