The Door of Life by Enid Bagnold (originally titled The Squire)

It’s surprising to discover that Enid Bagnold, the author best known for the classic horse story National Velvet, wrote what is considered one of the first novels centered on pregnancy and childbirth. Oddly titled The Squire when first published in England in 1938, it was retitled The Door of Life for the American audience.

This semi-autobiographical novel is an almost meditative reading experience from the perspective of an expectant mother who is soon to give birth to her fifth child. A review from the time of its publication observed: Read More→

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The Loved and Envied by Enid Bagnold (1951)

It’s widely believed that Lady Ruby MacLean, the protagonist of The Loved and Envied by Enid Bagnold was based on real-life Lady Diana Cooper, a famous socialite of the early 20th century. Bagnold’s fellow British writer Nancy Mitford also drew inspiration from Lady Cooper for Don’t Tell Alfred.

Though the book doesn’t much resonate with contemporary readers,  it was apparently enjoyed by a previous generation, and stands firmly in Bagnold’s modest canon. 

Lady Maclean is the character through which the theme of aging is explored, in particular, how it affects a beauty who is, as the title implies, loved and envied.   Read More→

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A Diary Without Dates by Enid Bagnold (1917)

During World War I, Enid Bagnold was a member of the British Women’s Services. She served for about a year and a half in the V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detachment), as a nurse’s aide.

Her duties were to attend to the non-medical needs of wounded British soldiers recovering from wounds in the Royal Herbert Hospital, just a few miles southeast of London. Some of the injuries she witnessed were absolutely horrific.

A Diary Without Dates was written almost as a dreamlike prose-poem, portraying the suffering of soldiers, many of whom faced mutilation, wrenching pain, and death. Thus, it became a timeless commentary on the traumas of war. Read More→

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National Velvet by Enid Bagnold (1935)

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold is a classic 1935 novel telling the story of fourteen-year-old Velvet Brown, the daughter of a working-class family in England.

Velvet is so horse-crazy that she indulges in both fervent and pedestrian fantasies — going on horseback journeys, leading horses to pastures, and simply grooming them.

“Oh, God, give me horses, give me horses!” Velvet prays early on in the book, “Let me be the best rider in England!” Read More→

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Quotes by Enid Bagnold, the Complicated Author of National Velvet

Enid Bagnold, the British author and playwright is best known for the classic 1935 children’s novel National Velvet and The Chalk Garden, a dramatic play that opened on Broadway in 1955.

Regarded as prickly and perplexing, she left behind a modest yet significant body of work. Here we’ll look at a selection of quotes by Enid Bagnold, a complicated and perplexing woman.

Bagnold at first pursued her studies in art, but then changed direction when she went to work as a journalist for a magazine in 1911. Read More→

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