Ivy Compton-Burnett


Ivy Compton-Burnett
Ivy Compton-Burnett
Born June 5, 1884(1884-06-05)
Died August 27, 1969(1969-08-27) (aged 85)

Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, DBE (5 June 1884 – 27 August 1969) was an English novelist, published (in the original hardback editions) as I. Compton-Burnett. She was awarded the 1955 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her novel Mother and Son.

Contents

Life

The daughter of a well-known homeopathic doctor, Compton-Burnett (pronounced 'Cumpton-Burnit') grew up in Hove and London. Her father had twelve children by two wives and Ivy's mother (the second wife) sent all her stepchildren away to boarding school as soon as possible.

In the author blurb of the old Penguin editions of her novels there was a paragraph written by Compton-Burnett herself:

"I have had such an uneventful life that there is little information to give. I was educated with my brothers in the country as a child, and later went to Holloway College, and took a degree in Classics. I lived with my family when I was quite young but for most of my life have had my own flat in London. I see a good deal of a good many friends, not all of them writing people. And there is really no more to say."

This omits the fact that her favourite brother, Guy, died of pneumonia; another, Noel, was killed on the Somme, and her two youngest sisters, Stephanie Primrose and Catharine (called "Baby" and "Topsy"), died in a suicide pact by taking veronal in their locked bedroom on Christmas Day, 1917. Not one of the twelve siblings had children, and all eight girls remained unmarried.[1]

She spent much of her life as companion to Margaret Jourdain (died 1951), a leading authority on the decorative arts and the history of furniture, who shared the author's Kensington flat from 1919. For the first ten years, Compton-Burnett seems to have remained unobtrusively in the background, always severely dressed in black. When Pastors and Masters appeared in 1925, Jourdain claimed to have been unaware that her friend was writing a novel.

Compton-Burnett was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). She died in 1969 and was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium.

Work

Apart from Dolores (1911), a traditional novel she later rejected as something "one wrote as a girl", Compton-Burnett's fiction deals with domestic situations in large households which, to all intents and purposes, invariably seem Edwardian. The description of human weaknesses and foibles of all sorts pervades her work, and the family that emerges from each of her novels must be seen as dysfunctional in one way or another. Starting with Pastors and Masters (1925), Compton-Burnett developed a highly individualistic style. Her fiction relies heavily on dialogue and demands constant attention on the reader's part: there are instances in her work where important information is casually mentioned in a half sentence. Her use of punctuation is deliberately perfunctory: there are no colons or semi-colons, no exclamation marks, no italics.

Critical reception

Of Pastors and Masters, the New Statesman wrote: "It is astonishing, amazing. It is like nothing else in the world. It is a work of genius."

In her essay collection L'Ère du soupçon (1956), an early manifesto for the French nouveau roman, Nathalie Sarraute hails Compton-Burnett as an "one of the greatest novelists England has ever had".

Bibliography

Most of her novels are out of print.

References

  1. ^ Janik, Viki K. Modern British women writers: an A-to-Z guide ISBN 9780313310300

Further reading

  • Hilary Spurling: Ivy: The Life of I. Compton-Burnett (1995) (combines two separate volumes originally published in 1974 and 1984) (ISBN 978-1860660269).
  • Cicely Greig: Ivy Compton-Burnett: a memoir Garnstone Press, London, 1972 ISBN 0855110600
  • Frederick R. Karl: "The Intimate World of Ivy Compton-Burnett", A Reader's Guide to the Contemporary English Novel (1961) 201-219.

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Ivy Compton-Burnett — (Pinner, Middlesex, 5 de junio de 1884 – Londres, 27 de agosto de 1969) fue una novelista inglesa de original estilo y densidad. Muy apreciada por ciertos lectores cultivados, fue premiada en 1955 por su novela Mother and Son con el James Tait… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ivy Compton-Burnett — (* 5. Juni 1884 in London; † 27. August 1969 ebenda) war eine englische Schriftstellerin. Compton Burnet ist eine Vertreterin der englischen Erzählliteratur der Moderne. Sie verfasste Romane, die vorwiegend aus stilisierten Dialogen bestehen.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ivy Compton-Burnett — Dame Ivy Compton Burnett est une romancière britannique née le 5 juin 1884 et morte le 27 août 1969 à Londres. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Son œuvre 3 Bibliographie sélective 4 Lien externe …   Wikipédia en Français

  • COMPTON-BURNETT (I.) — COMPTON BURNETT IVY (1892 1969) Sage vieille demoiselle anglaise, en marge des principaux courants littéraires de notre époque, tant dans sa vie que dans son œuvre, créatrice originale d’un style inimitable, Ivy Compton Burnett atteint la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Compton-Burnett — Ivy Compton Burnett (* 5. Juni 1884 in London; † 27. August 1969 ebenda) war eine englische Schriftstellerin. Compton Burnet ist eine Vertreterin der englischen Erzählliteratur der Moderne. Sie verfasste Romane, die vorwiegend aus stilisierten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Compton-Burnett — Compton Burnett, Ivy …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Compton-Burnett —   [ kɔmptən bəːnɪt], Dame (seit 1967) Ivy, englische Schriftstellerin, * London 5. 6. 1884, ✝ ebenda 27. 8. 1969; stellt in ihren Romanen im Rahmen von Familienkonflikten die Gesellschaft am Ausgang des 19. Jahrhunderts dar. Hinter der Fassade… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Compton-Burnett, Dame Ivy — born June 5, 1884, Pinner, Middlesex, Eng. died Aug. 27, 1969, London British novelist. She graduated from the University of London and published her first novel, Dolores, in 1911. Her second, Pastors and Masters (1925), introduced the style… …   Universalium

  • Compton-Burnett, Dame Ivy — (5 jun. 1884, Pinner, Middlesex, Inglaterra–27 ago. 1969, Londres). Novelista británica. Se graduó en la Universidad de Londres, y publicó en 1911 su primera novela, Dolores. En la segunda, Pastors and Masters [Pastores y amos] (1925), introduce… …   Enciclopedia Universal


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