A modern Jane Austen?

Posted by Helen Monday, June 03, 2013 ,

When the TLS asked various people in 1977 to name the most under-rated writer of the twentieth century, two respondents, Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil named Barbara Pym, born 100 years today. This revived and enhanced the publishers' and the literary world's influence in her clever, witty and rather low-key writing, which reminds one a great deal of Jane Austen's.

Barbara Pym wrote about women of the mid-twentieth century, who had varied lives, often careers though equally often not, an interest in the Church of England and its parish doings and a penchant for unsuitable men (a characteristic they shared with their creator). Though they are not strong on plot, they are beautifully crafted (an old-fashioned virtue in writing, one sometimes feels) and alternately very funny and sadly wistful. They also provide a fascinating picture of certain parts of English life in the two decades after the Second World War.

The DNB entry on her does Miss Pym (she was never a Ms) full justice.

1 Responses to A modern Jane Austen?

  1. Sandra M Says:
  2. When I clicked on the link I got Danny La Rue! I've read a couple of her books and enjoyed them. They seem to be out of fashion.

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