Barbara Pym (1913-1980) was a British novelist best known
for her series of satirical novels on English middle-class society.
A graduate of St. Hilda's College, Oxford, Pym published the first
of her nine novels, Some Tame Gazelle, in 1950, followed by
five more books. Despite this early success and continuing
popularity, Pym went unpublished from 1963 to 1977. Her work was
rediscovered after a famous article in the Times Literary
Supplement in which two prominent names, Lord David Cecil and
Philip Larkin, nominated Pym as the most underrated writer of the
century. Her comeback novel, Quartet in Autumn, was
nominated for the Booker Prize.
A. N. Wilson (introducer) was born in 1950 and educated at Rugby School and New College, Oxford. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has held a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism, winning prizes for much of his work and contributing to the London Even Standard, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, Spectator, Observer, and Daily Mail, among others. He lives in London.
"Beneath the gentle surfaces of [Pym's] novels is a slow-building
comedy, salt wit in a saline drip. . . . Her work offers the
reassurance that we are all as bad and as good, as prickly and as
resilient, as any Evensong attendee. It is a useful gratification
in grating times." -The New York Times
"A startling reminder that solitude may be chosen and that a lively, full novel can be constructed entirely within the precincts of that regressive virtue, feminine patience." -John Updike, The New Yorker
"Reading Barbara Pym is . . . a wonderful experience, full of unduplicable perceptions, sensations, and soul-stirrings." -Newsweek
"[One of] the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years." -Lord David Cecil