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Lectures from the Allen Room and the Wertheim Study: Sylvia Townsend Warner : a Biographical Introduction


May 6, 2014

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The novelist, short-story writer and poet Sylvia Townsend Warner was a bestseller in the 1920s, a controversialist in the 1930s, a well-loved contributor to The New Yorker in the post-war years and a feminist 'rediscovery' in the 1970s. But despite a growing audience since her death in 1978, Warner remains (in Sarah Waters' words) 'one of the most shamefully under-read great British authors of the past 100 years'. What is it about Warner and her works that seems to have denied her an easy path to fame? And how much did her relative obscurity hamper or help her development as an artist? Claire Harman, Warner's biographer and the editor of her poems and diaries, reveals the story of this remarkable woman's life and how it affected the reception of her books both at the time of writing and now.

Claire Harman FRSA is the author of several literary biographies and is currently writing a life of Charlotte Brontë to coincide with the author's bicentenary in 2016.  (Photo: Caroline Forbes)

More lectures on Sylvia Townsend Warner :  May 16   May 22  and  May 29