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Dodie Smith entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
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Dodie Smith, best known for writing the beloved children's novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956), began her career as a dramatist; she wrote a series of hit plays in the 1930s. In the 1940s she turned to publishing novels (including the best-selling I Capture the Castle in 1948) and spent her last years writing several volumes of autobiography. After the war, Dodie Smith sometimes experienced difficulties getting her work published or produced; she fell out of favour with critics who found her work too sentimental, charming, and 'cosy', particularly in contrast to the work of 'Angry Young Men' such as John Osborne and Kingsley Amis. Her biggest successes from this later period were with younger audiences.
Milestones
3 May 1896 Dorothy Gladys Smith (later known as DS) was born at Whitefield in Lancashire; she remained an only child. Bibliographic Citation link.
14 September 1938 DS's family drama Dear Octopus opened at the Queen's Theatre in London, where it played for almost a year. Bibliographic Citation link.
20 October 1948 DS published her first novel, the romantic story I Capture the Castle, with Little, Brown in Boston. Bibliographic Citation link.
21 December 1954 At midnight DS suddenly experienced, she said, "the whole plot of The Hundred and One Dalmatians unfold[ing] itself in my imagination." Bibliographic Citation link.
19 November 1956 DS's tremendously popular children's book The Hundred and One Dalmatians was published in Britain; the US edition followed in 1957. Bibliographic Citation link.
Christmas Day 1961 Disney released 101 Dalmatians, an animated film version of DS's children's classic. Bibliographic Citation link.
1974 DS issued the first of her five volumes of autobiography (one remained unpublished), Look Back with Love, A Manchester Childhood. Bibliographic Citation link.
November 1985 DS published her last work, the fourth volume of her autobiography, entitled Look Back with Gratitude, with Muller, Blond & White; a fifth volume remains unpublished. Bibliographic Citation link.
24 November 1990 DS died at Finchingfield in Essex, at the age of ninety-four. Bibliographic Citation link.
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