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English novelists

A few writers I really like are of the same ilk, descendants of Trollope, I guess you could say.

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) is explicitly related: Her novels, which she turned out once a year for around 40 years, were set in Trollope's Barsetshire. Her books are light and gently satiric, but literary too: middlebrow. Her grandfather was the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones, & she was a first cousin of Rudyard Kipling & prime minister Stanley Baldwin. Her (estranged) son was the novelist Colin Macinnes.

The very prolific and witty E.F. Benson (1867-1940), author of the Lucia series, fits in here, although his characters are more comic and less realistic than the others. His father was the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he lived in what had been Henry James' house.

And then there's Barbara Pym (1913-80), another English novelist who wrote about small-town middle-aged ladies, as well as curates, anthropologists, shopkeepers, & the like. In Some Tame Gazelle, which I'm reading at the moment, I got to this line: "Ricardo put down his spoon and was obviously on the point of bursting into a flow of Dante, but the Archdeacon was too quick for him and got in first with Byron." Sharp, funny, kindly, quotidian, warm, sympathetic. It's hard to overdo her praise, except when one is reminded how restrained she herself is in her novels.
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