Daily Archives for: June 20th, 2021

Antonia White, author of Frost in May

Antonia White (born Eirene Botting, March 31, 1899 – April 10, 1980) was a British author best known for her autobiographical novel Frost in May.  In addition to producing other novels and short stories, she was an accomplished translator from French to English.

Her well-documented struggles with mental health resulted in her being committed to an asylum in her early twenties, an experience that she used as the basis for some of her fiction. Other notable themes in both her life and work were religion, particularly Catholicism, and her difficult relationship with her father and daughters. Read More→


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An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden (1956)

This analysis of Rumer Godden’s 1956 novel, An Episode of Sparrows, features its tenacious young heroine, Lovejoy Mason. Excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel  by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

Growing up in the colonial era, like the family in Rebecca West’s The Fountain Overflows are the sisters Bea and Harriet in The River, 1946, set in what was then Bengal by Rumer Godden (1907–1998), who herself grew up partly in India. Like many of the girls in these semi-autobiographical novels, Harriet wants to be a writer when she grows up. Read More→


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Ántonia Shimerda: Singular Heroine of Willa Cather’s My Ántonia

This character analysis of Ántonia Shimerda, the heroine of My Ántonia by Willa Cather (1873-1947) is excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel  by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

My Ántonia (1918) is the third of Willa Cather’s Midwestern pioneer novels (often referred to as the Prairie Trilogy) of early twentieth century frontier life which, despite their brevity, manage to encompass the epic sweep of the pioneering move to the West, seeming to hark back to an earlier era of rugged individualism.

Despite the title, Ántonia (the Shimerda family have come from Bohemia; all Czech names have the stress on the first syllable, hence the accent over the Á) is not the narrator nor even the central character; she is always slightly off to one side and a little out of focus. Read More→


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