Elizabeth Bowen (June 7, 1899 – February 22, 1973) was an Irish-British novelist and short-story writer best known for fictional works that focused on life in wartime London and relationships among the upper-middle class.
Some have referred to her as the “grande dame” of the modern novel, her work characterized by a conscious, concise style.
Bowen’s work reflects her great interest in “life with the lid on and what happens when the lid comes off.” It examines the innocence of orderly life and irrepressible forces that transforms one’s experience. In her stories and novels, she examines the betrayal and secrets beneath the veneer of respectability.
Marianne Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was a poet who belonged to the American Modernist movement. Her poetry was notable for its wit, irony, and use of syllabic verse. She was also a respected translator.
At right, a 1957 photo of Marianne Moore by the noted photographer Imogen Cunningham.
Politically, Marianne was heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, often supporting the movement anonymously through her writing. She was viewed as a celebrity throughout much of her life, and she received numerous honorary degrees and awards for her works, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Medal for Literature. Read More→
Selma Lagerlöf (November 20, 1858 – March 16, 1940) was a Swedish author who has the distinction of being the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the first Swede to win the award.
She was also an active teacher throughout her professional life and in 1914 became the first female admitted to the Swedish Academy.
Once, when asked for her favorite color, Selma answered, “Sunset.” A suitable answer for a woman who more often chose the thrill of a good story over personal adventure, romanticism over realism, and the pleasures of home over traveling afar.
Fanny Burney (June 13, 1752 – January 6, 1840), born Frances Burney, was a British novelist, diarist, and playwright best remembered for her first novel, Evelina (1778).
Born in Lynn Regis, now known as King’s Lynn, her father, Dr. Charles Burney, was a musician of note. Her mother, Esther Sleepe Burney, died when Fanny was ten, and this marked the time when she began writing in earnest.
Fanny’s literary output included four novels eight plays, a biography, and some twenty-five volumes of journals and letters. She was an influence on novelists of manner and satire who came a bit later, notably, Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray. Read More→
Vera Brittain (December 29, 1893– March 29, 1970) was a British memoirist, poet, essayist, and novelist whose work and life were forever marked by the losses she endured as a result of World War I. She’s best remembered for her classic memoir, Testament of Youth (1933).
As a young wartime nurse, she tended to wounded soldiers in several countries. Her brother and her fiancé were killed during the war. Brittain never fully recovered from the tragic loss, and the horrors of the war are poignantly depicted in her writings.
The suffering she witnessed inspired her to become a pacifist after the war, and she was an active, dedicated member of the peace movement for the rest of her life. Read More→