9780195205497 / 0195205499

Stevie: A Biography of Stevie Smith


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Publisher:Oxford University Press, 1987



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About the book:

Stevie Smith, who died in 1971, remains one of the most fascinating and original English literary figures of this century. Her wit and eccentricity have become legend, her personal style was unique, her poems are among the oddest, funniest, and most moving in the language. Her life was so compelling that it became the subject of a play and a film, both starring Glenda Jackson.
In this charming biography, Jack Barbera and William McBrien capture the essence of a remarkable woman and her impact on the literary scene. Drawing on a wealth of private and archival material, much of it previously unknown, they present the fullest and most convincing portrait yet of Stevie Smith's life and work. They depict the unhappiness of her long childhood exile in the hospital with tuberculosis, her father's abandonment of the family, and her mother's early death. And they paint a rich portrait of her adult life, which was spent almost entirely in a genteel North London suburb and shared with a beloved aunt. Although Stevie gained an international following in 1936 with the publication of Novel on Yellow Paper, she continued to work for more than 30 years as a secretary in a publishing house. Her writing later ceased to be fashionable but in the 1960s, she enjoyed a new wave of recognition as a performer, broadcaster, and literary reviewer, receiving in 1969 the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Replete with anecdotes from Stevie's friends and excerpts from her work, this biography offers new insights into the charm and paradox of a unique poet as well as into her writings and the world in which she moved.

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