Friday, August 10, 2007

An Author of Note: The Other Elizabeth Taylor

'The whole point is that writing has a pattern and life hasn't. Life is so untidy. Art is so short and life so long. It is not possible to have perfection in life but it is possible to have perfection in a novel." (Elizabeth Taylor, author)

Some of you may have seen a movie called Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. The genesis for this movie was the work of a fairly unknown British writer (until now) named Elizabeth Taylor 1912 - 1975), an author who may finally getting her due on this side of the Atlantic. Until fairly recently, she had no publisher in America but Virago Classics has changed all that and I'd urge readers to grab these novels while they are available. They are small gems.

To avoid frustration, if you do a search for any of her books, I strongly suggest searching by the title of one of her books, listed below, or you'll be deluged with titles written or about Elizabeth Taylor, the actress.

If you want to know more about the British author, not the actress, you can pick up the most current issue of Atlantic Monthly, as of today, August 10, 2007. There is a nice section which contains biographical info about Taylor. She has been compared with not only Jane Austen but Elizabeth Ozen. I'd like to know why her books are finally being turned into movies, what it is about our times that makes her suddenly "relevant" again.

Credit for publication of her works for release in Amercia goes to Virago, who listened to the author's devoted fans. She writes about friendship, love, social connection, marriage and other topics, not always flatteringly, but with a keen eye and very perceptively. The author was quite eccentric and really didn't do much to promote her work, so her followers came to discover her over the years and word of mouth built slowly in America. Taylor spent most of her life in Buckinghamshire.

Some titles currently available through Virago Publishers (search link to Amazon and the book is at right) as well as a brief description of each:

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (Virago Modern Classics): The widowed Mrs Palfrey arrives at the Claremont Hotel, deterimined to live out her life there. However, she can't help meeting fellow residents, including Ludo, a quite attractive young man.

Blaming (Virago Modern Classics): This one focuses on a woman's adjustment to her husband's death.

A View of the Harbor: (Virago Modern Classics): When a retired naval officer comes to a quiet fishing village he simply intends to work on his art. He can't resist getting to know the residents and complications ensue as he meets people ranging from a divorcee to others, discovering painful secrets along the way.

Angel (Virago Modern Classics):

Angelica Devil is fifteen and set on following her romantic dreams in spite of her mother's attempts to get her to move up in the world.

To see the Wikipedia info on her, check here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Elizabeth_Taylor_%28novelist%29&oldid=144997748





1 comment:

Dody Jane said...

I have just ordered my first ET book - In a Summer Season. A biography will be issued this September. I am really looking forward to reading both!