Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Harriet Evans Writes about Dorothy Whipple for Persephone

I have bought several novels published by Persephone Books for myself or as presents either by ordering online or visiting their exquisite shop in Conduit Street in London. They make marvellous presents for reader- and writer-friends.

This publisher - dedicated to reprinting neglected fiction and non-fiction mid twentieth century books, mostly by women - must be unique on the contemporary publishing scene in that they show high respect writers and readers and have a brilliant sense of the aesthetic and physical nature of books.

This was brought home to me when I came across a copy of their  2014 winter catalogue called The Persephone Biannually, It is truly a beautiful object featuring paintings and images from the 20th Century art and essays by contemporary writers which serve as forwards and afterwards of the re-published novels.

I was particularly delighted to read Harriet Evans's* passionate and iconoclastic essay introducing Dorothy Whipple's novel 'Because of The Lockwoods.' It is worth getting hold of  Persephone Biannually just for this essay alone. Like me you will be movedo to buy Dorothy Whipple's Persephone novel. 

In her essay of appreciation Harriet Evans says 

'... the world of Literary London, for want of a better expression, is today perhaps more sexist and snobbish (especially geographically snobbish), almost unbelievably, than it was when she was writing, than in the time when she was writing and the cultural tide of opinion and the cultural tide of of opinion, is these days against her. Another reason why Whipple has been disregarded by the literary mainstream is that we still live in a sexist world and in addition one where writing from the North of England is undervalued.'

Looking back on a lifetime of  writing from the North of England I can heartily endorse this.

*Harriet Evans, now a very successful novelist, was once my own very much appreciated editor. W.

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