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ivy compton burnett

Ivy Compton-Burnett

Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884-1969) was a contemporary of Virginia Woolf, who wrote in her diary of how her own writing was “much inferior to the bitter truth and intense originality of Miss Compton-Burnett”.

Ivy Compton Burnett’s own tragic experiences of family life provided some of the material drew on as a novelist. Her books are about money, power, status, incest, adultery, murder, homosexuality, about which she was years ahead of her time, and all the passions and stresses of family life, described with brilliant wit and perception.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Dolores (1911)
Pastors and Masters (1925)
Brothers and Sisters (1929)
Men and Wives (1931)
More Women than Men (1933)
A House and its Head (1935)
Daughters and Sons (1937)
A Family and a Fortune (1939)
Parents and Children (1941)
Elders and Betters (1944)
Manservant and Maidservant (1947)
Two Worlds and their Ways (1949)
Darkness and Day (1951)
The Present and the Past (1953)
Mother and Son (1955)
A Father and his Fate (1957)
A Heritage and its History (1959)
The Mighty and their Fall (1961)
A God and his Gift (1963)
The Last and the First (1971)

 

 

 

 

- Contact -

 

CAMILLA SHESTOPAL
E-mail: cshestopal@pfd.co.uk

Associate Agent: Silvia Molteni

E-mail: smolteni@pfd.co.uk

Telephone number: 02073441000


Foreign Rights

Intercontinental Literary Agency Ltd

 
 
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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

PASTORS AND MASTERS

 

‘”The sight of duty does make one shiver,” said Miss Herrick. “The actual doing of it would kill one, I think.”‘ Ever anxious to keep up appearances, self-avowed intellectual and scholar Nicholas Herrick knows that to involve himself in the running of his own school would be a condescension too far. Assembling around himself a cast of fittingly fawning friends and aides, he sets about unveiling his final masterpiece. Described in contemporary reviews as “a work of genius,” Pastors and Masters inaugurated the writing career of an author gifted with a rare skill for characterization and for wry portrayals of domestic scenes.

 

PUBLICATION DATE: 25 SEPTEMBER 2009

UK PUBLISHER: HESPERUS PRESS

ISBN CODE: 978-1843914532

RIGHTS CONTROLLED: TRANSLATION

 

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

THE MIGHTY AND THEIR FALL

 

With his wife’s death, Ninian Middleton turned to his eldest daughter, Lavinia, as a companion. When, some years later, he decides to marry again, a chasm opens in the life of the young girl whose time he has so jealously possessed. Convoluted attempts are made to prevent this marriage – and others – and the seams of intense family relationships are torn, with bitter consequences. Astringent, succinct and always subversive, Ivy Compton-Burnett wields her scalpel-like pen to vehemently dissect the passions and duplicity of the Middleton family.

 

Publication: BLOOMSBURY READER, 18th July 2013

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

MEN AND WIVES

 

At the centre of this novel stands Harriet Haslam, the epitome of the maternal power figure,whose genuine but overpowering love dominates the novel and whose self-knowledge drives her into insanity. Even after her death Harriet continues to dominate.Surrounding this central figure are a host of marvelously realised characters – Sir Geoffrey Haslam, Harriet’s husband, an innocent self-deluder; Dominic Spong, a hypocrite whose platitudes do not quite conceal his powerful self-interest; Agatha Calkin whose benevolent maternalism nearly hides the greediest of drives towards power; Lady Hardistry, the most outrageously witty of all sophisticates; Camilla Christy, a loose woman, dazzling, charming, and corrupt. Unlike Harriet Haslam, who will not spare herself the truth, the others are happier with their lies and can never achieve Harriet’s grandeur.

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th September 2011

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

PARENTS AND CHILDREN

 

Eleanor and Fulbert Sullivan live, with their nine children ranging from nursery to university age, in a huge country house belonging to Fulbert’s parents, Sir Jesse and Lady Regan. Sir Jesse sends Fulbert, his only son, on a business mission to South America. News comes of Fulbert’s death, and his executor, Ridley Cranmer, plans an impulsive marriage to Eleanor… but is Fulbert really dead? And what is the mystery surrounding the parentage of the three strange Marlowes living in genteel penury on the fringe of the great estate? Parents and Children is less savage in theme than some of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s fiction and, with its richly funny scenes with the children and happily resolved ending, makes a perfect introduction to this distinguished author’s highly individual world – a closed world of intense relationships within late Victorian upper-class families, a world in which the normally unspoken is stated and the unthinkable enacted, with dark revelations blandly emerging from formal speeches of great subtlety.

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th September 2011

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A FAMILY AND A FORTUNE

 

Edwin Muir wrote of Ivy Compton-Burnett in the Observer: ‘Her literary abilities have been abundantly acknowledged by the majority of her literary contemporaries. Her intense individuality has removed her from the possibility of rivalry… She takes as her theme the tyrannies and internecine battles of English family life in leisured well-conducted country houses. To Miss Compton-Burnett the family conflict is intimate, unrelenting, very often indecisive and fought out mainly in conversation… The passions which bring distress to her country houses have recently devastated continents.’To present an image of this totally unique writer, we have to imagine a Jane Austen writing, in the present day, Greek prose tragedies (in which the wicked generally triumph) on late Victorian themes. In A Family of a Fortune she conveys, largely through dialogue (which may be subtle, humorous, envenomed, or tragic), the effects of death and inheritance on the house of Gaveston – in particular on the relations between Edgar and his selfless younger brother, Dudley. This, apart from the embittered character of Matilda Seaton, is her kindliest novel.

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th September 2011

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

ELDERS AND BETTERS

 

The Donne family’s move to the country is inspired by a wish to be close to their cousins, who are to be their nearest neighbours. It proves too close for comfort, however. For a secret switching of wills causes the most genteel pursuit of self-interest to threaten good relations and even good manners…Ivy Compton-Burnett employs her sharp ear for comedy and celebrated powers of dialogue to spectacular effect. She reveals a devastating microcosm of human society, in which the elders are by no means always the betters, in which no character is totally scrupulous, but none without their appeal.

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th September 2011

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

A HERITAGE AND ITS HISTORY

 

A Heritage and its History tells the story of 69 year old Sir Edwin Challoner, and his extended family.Unmarried, and with no direct issue, Challoner’s closest relation, and business associate, is his younger brother Hamish.When Hamish dies of a heart condition, his son Simon prepares to take over as head of the house, as everyone assumes that Sir Edwin will also die in a matter of months.However, Sir Edwin surprises everyone by announcing his marriage to Rhoda, his neighbour, also more than 40 years his junior.Following the return from their honeymoon, Rhoda succumbs to a moment of unbridled passion with Simon, her new husband’s nephew.When Rhoda falls pregnant, there is no question who has fathered the child.A Heritage and its History gets right to the heart of this family as it splits into factions, growing increasingly bitter and resentful.The reader watches on in amazement as two families become more and more entangled, and the path to the inheritance of this once great house and title becomes ever more twisted.Sooner or later, the secret must come out…

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th September 2011

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

DOLORES

 

The first edition of Dolores was published in 1911. It sold well, and was promptly forgotten. Now that her career of sixty years is ended, and her long achievement more and more acclaimed, Dolores, standing at that remote beginning, is curiously reborn.

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th October 2011

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

TWO WORLDS AND THEIR WAYS

 

Sefton and his sister Clemence are dispatched to separate boarding schools. Their father’s second marriage, their mother’s economies, provide perfect opportunities for mockery, and home becomes a source of shame. More wretched is their mother’s insistence that they excel. Their desperate means to please her incite adult opprobrium, but how dit the children learn to deceive? Here staccato dialogue, brittle aphorisms and an excoriating wit are used to unparalleled and subversive effect ruthlessly to expose the wounds beneath the surface of family life.

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th October 2011

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Ivy Compton-Burnett
 

THE PRESENT AND THE PAST

 

‘I cannot be parted longer from my sons… I am coming back to my home’ Nine years after her divorce from Cassius Clare, Catherine decides to re-enter his life. Her decision causes a dramatic upheaval in the Clare family and its implications are analysed and redefined, not only in the drawing-room, but in the children’s nursery and the servants’ quarters. At first, Flavia, Cassius’s second wife, feels resentment, fearing that she may be usurped. But as a friendship develops between the two women, it is Cassius who is excluded and whose self-pity intensifies, erupting in a shocking, unexpected way…

 

Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 28th October 2011

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