SYLVIA TOWNSEND WARNER – 1893-1978
SYLVIA TOWNSEND WARNER was born and brought up at Harrow School where her father, George, was a housemaster and teacher of history. A music student, she became interested in the music of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and spent 10 years editing the ten-volume compilation Tudor Church Music. In 1925, she published her first book of verse, The Espalier. With the publication of the novels Lolly Willowes (1926), Mr fortune’s Maggot (1927) and The True Heart (1928), she achieved immediate recognition. The short stories she contributed to The New Yorker for over forty years established her reputation on both sides of the Atlantic. In all, Sylvia Townsend Warner published seven novels, four volumes of poetry, a volume of essays and eight volumes of short stories. Her biography of T. H. White appeared in 1967 and she also translated Proust’s essays Contre Saint Beuve. A writer of great scope and imaginative power, each of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s novels is a new departure ranging from revolutionary Paris in 1848 in Summer Will Show, a 14th century abbey in The Corner that Held Them (1948), to the South Sea Islands in Mr Fortune’s Maggot.
Sylvia Townsend Warner lived for many years, with her partner Valentine Ackland, in Dorset. She died on 1st May 1978,aged eighty four.