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Book Title: An Academic Question|
The author of the book: Barbara Pym
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.83 MB
Edition: Virago Press Ltd
Date of issue: 2012
ISBN 13: 9781844087235
Read full description of the books An Academic Question:This was edited together from two of her drafts, and Pym apparently never considered it ready for publication. It should have stayed buried, as it is the worst Pym I have ever read. What sets Pym, like Austen, apart from her contemporaries is not just the razor-sharp social commentary and witty phrasing, but also the underlying sympathy. Even when she has torn a hole through hypocrisies, there is still an understanding of *how* those betrayals came about. This story has found many clever ways to cut deeply into the consciousnesses of academics, but instead of empathy there is only cruelty. There is not a single sympathetic character in the whole novel, and it put me in a bad mood.
Read information about the authorAfter studying English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, she served in the Women's Royal Naval Service during World War II.
The turning point for Pym came with a famous article in the Times Literary Supplement in which two prominent names, Lord David Cecil and Philip Larkin, nominated her as the most underrated writer of the century. Pym and Larkin had kept up a private correspondence over a period of many years. Her comeback novel, Quartet in Autumn, was nominated for the Booker Prize. Another novel, The Sweet Dove Died, previously rejected by many publishers, was subsequently published to critical acclaim, and several of her previously unpublished novels were published after her death.
Pym worked at the International African Institute in London for some years, and played a large part in the editing of its scholarly journal, Africa, hence the frequency with which anthropologists crop up in her novels. She never married, despite several close relationships with men, notably Henry Harvey, a fellow Oxford student, and the future politician, Julian Amery. After her retirement, she moved into Barn Cottage at Finstock in Oxfordshire with her younger sister, Hilary, who continued to live there until her death in February 2005. A blue plaque was placed on the cottage in 2006. The sisters played an active role in the social life of the village.
Several strong themes link the works in the Pym "canon", which are more notable for their style and characterisation than for their plots. A superficial reading gives the impression that they are sketches of village or suburban life, with excessive significance being attached to social activities connected with the Anglican church (in particular its Anglo-Catholic incarnation). However, the dialogue is often deeply ironic, and a tragic undercurrent runs through some of the later novels, especially Quartet in Autumn and The Sweet Dove Died.
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