Posted in January 2014

Sinabada by Elinor Mordaunt (1937)

Elinor Mordaunt was born Evelyn May Clowes in 1872 in Cotgrave, near Nottingham. She died in 1942. Another quite prolific popular novelist, Mordaunt doesn’t have an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, though she is in the Orlando database of Women’s Writing (alas we are not subscribers to that). We read four of her novels and the … Continue reading

Refugee by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (1934)

Another Mrs Alfred Sidgwick review! And a particularly interesting subject for romantic fiction in the 1930s. Review by Judith W: A young Jewish woman, Helga Aquilar, is rescued from Berlin in the 1930s by an English woman, Mrs Cone, who brings her to London  and deposits her in the house of two bachelor barristers, Charles … Continue reading

Academic conference

We’re going to hold a one-day conference at Sheffield Hallam University on Saturday 14th June 2014, entitled  ‘Culture Wars 1900-1950’. We will be asking: What was meant by ‘culture’ in the period 1900-1950?  Whose culture was it and did all walks of life have a culture? How was culture contested? See the conference page for details: … Continue reading

Simpson (1931) by Edward Sackville West

This fourth novel by Edward Sackville-West won the Femina Vie Heureuse prize in 1931. Cambridge University Library holds papers of the English committe of this prize, and give these details: ‘In 1904 Hachette, publishers of the magazines Femina and La Vie Heureuse, established an annual prize for a French novel. From 1919 a prize was … Continue reading

Edward Sackville-West (1901-1965)

The surname is familiar to readers of this period, but not, I expect, the first name! This is the cousin of  the writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West. My first thought was that this is the man who inherited Knole from his Uncle, over poor Vita. (Vita, daughter of Baron Sackville, grew up at the Tudor palace … Continue reading

Karen by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (1918)

Review by Kath R: Karen, an young English girl, daughter of a widower, goes to Germany for the wedding of a school-friend.  She falls out with the temperamental family and returns to England.  On her return she decides to marry a German army officer, a count she has met on the train, who is also … Continue reading

Below Stairs by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (1913)

Review by Thecla W: Priscilla Day is 12 at the beginning of the novel and living with her parents. Mr Day has lost his job and they are poor. Mrs Day is thinking about Priscilla’s future and concluding that soon she will have to go into service like her two older sisters and as she herself … Continue reading

Cynthia’s Way by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (1901)

Review by Jane V: Cynthia, a rich, independent English society girl (albeit without surviving family) goes to Germany as a governess ‘for an adventure’. Cynthia lives with a family run by a homely aunt of the four orphaned, unruly children and tactfully brings discipline and education to the family.  The children’s guardian Adrian (their half … Continue reading

Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (c.1850-1934) and Cousin Ivo (1899)

Cecily Sidgwick published 41 novels and collections of short stories over her long career from 1889 until her death in 1934. She was born in London to a German Jewish family, and frequently wrote about Germany and German characters. She  married a philosopher, Alfred Sidgwick, and converted to Christianity. I would be fascinated to learn more … Continue reading