Full Text

Compton-Burnett, Ivy

SARA CRANGLE


Subject Literature » Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature

Key-Topics modernism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405192446.2011.x


Extract

Ivy Compton-Burnett was born in 1884 and died in 1969. Her father was James Compton Burnett, a well-known British homoeopath. One of 13 children, Compton-Burnett spent most of her childhood in Hove in the south of England. She then moved to London, where she shared a flat for 30 years with Margaret Jourdain, a writer and authority on English furniture. The author of 20 novels published between 1911 and 1971, Compton-Burnett topped bestseller lists alongside Virginia Woolf and Agatha Christie in 1937. She was lauded by Arnold Bennett, Vita Sackville-West, and John Betjeman among others; in the USA, her popularity throughout the century is indicated by her mention in New York poet Frank O'Hara's “Biographia Letteraria.” She was touted by the French nouveau roman movement, and translated into many European languages. She received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1955, an honorary doctorate at the University of Leeds in 1960, an OBE in 1967, and was made a companion of the Royal Society of Literature in 1968. A renowned London figure, Compton-Burnett was lampooned by cartoonists, photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue , and broadcast on BBC radio and television. Almost all of Compton-Burnett's novels are set at the end of the nineteenth century in remote, impoverished country houses. Self-absorbed tyrants dominate the insular families therein; rare visitors are often married, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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