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E. M. Delafield entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
Excerpts
Works By
E. M. Delafield's charming, witty novels are characterized by acute observation and good-humoured social satire. Her stories often draw from her own experiences—as an Edwardian débutante, a novice in a religious order, a war worker, and an upper-middle-class wife and mother in a modernizing Georgian world. At her best (as in Diary of a Provincial Lady) she offers lively, amusing insights into the foibles of her own class and contemporary society at large. Often compared to Jane Austen, she has been praised for her "almost uncanny gift for converting the small and familiar dullnesses of everyday life into laughter." Bibliographic Citation link. She also wrote plays, short stories, literary criticism, sketches, war propaganda, and a travel book.
Milestones
9 June 1890 Edmée de la Pasture (later EMD) was born at Hove, then a village near Brighton in Sussex. Bibliographic Citation link.
March 1917 Edmée de la Pasture initiated the pseudonym under which she became known, E. M. Delafield, with the publication of her first novel, Zella Sees Herself. Bibliographic Citation link.
6 December 1929 Time and Tide published the first instalment of EMD's Diary of a Provincial Lady; the column ran weekly on the centre pages. Bibliographic Citation link.
December 1930 EMD's popular, witty series Diary of a Provincial Lady (already serialized in Time and Tide) was published by Macmillan in volume form. It was the first of four 'Provincial Lady' fictions to appear in the 1930s. Bibliographic Citation link.
27 September 1942 EMD completed her last novel, Late and Soon. It was published by Macmillan in April 1943 with a dedication to her friend Kate O'Brien, who looked after her during her last months. Bibliographic Citation link.
2 December 1943 EMD died at home in Devon, apparently from cancer of the colon. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
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