Angela Thirkell

Standard Name: Thirkell, Angela
Birth Name: Angela Margaret Mackail
Pseudonym: Leslie Parker
Married Name: Angela Margaret McInnes
Married Name: Angela Margaret Thirkell
Married Name: Mrs G. L. Thirkell
AT , having already published journalism (some of it literary) and a family memoir, launched her career as a novelist in the 1930s (her own early forties) and continued publishing for nearly thirty years at the rate of a title a year or more. Among her novels the best-known are those of the long Barsetshire series: stories of English village life where characters are effortlessly eccentric, and issues of class, nationality, gender, and sexual preference are presented with a characteristic blend of naiveté, obliquity, and straight-faced humour. She also published a children's book, a historical biography, and introductions to reprints of other authors' novels.
Photograph of a drawing of Angela Thirkell, drawn in black and white. She is depicted from the shoulders up, wearing a simple dress with ruffled  sleeves, and her dark hair is pulled back. There is a signature and a date in the bottom right-hand corner. The signature is not clearly visible but the date appears to be 1918.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Family and Intimate relationships Lady Cynthia Asquith
LCA remembers her mother as the brilliant provoker and chairwoman of debate in the symposiums, as we used to call the tournaments of wit and wisdom over which our mother presided [at Stanway House]...
Friends, Associates Lady Cynthia Asquith
In Dresden Cynthia Charteris met Violet Asquith , then, in December, Violet's brothers Beb (Herbert ) and Oc (Arthur ). By the time she left Dresden, Beauman writes, she was in love with...
Friends, Associates Lady Cynthia Asquith
As well as her close relationships with Angela Thirkell and Barrie , LCA built a significant friendship with the novelist D. H. Lawrence (who has been seen as drawing her portrait in The Blind Man...
Intertextuality and Influence Lady Cynthia Asquith
Probably in the year after making a note of Angela Thirkell 's example, and in some kind of agreement with Eileen Bigland that they should each produce a novel, LCA published her first of these,...
Intertextuality and Influence Lady Cynthia Asquith
LCA found inspiration in the success as a novelist of her friend Angela Thirkell . Around 1935 (by which time Thirkell had published at least three novels and a short-story volume within a couple of...
Literary responses Noel Streatfeild
Reviewers seem to have found these books hard to praise. Benny Green in The Spectator described the first Maitland book as preposterous and antiquated, but mysteriously readable and affecting.
Huse, Nancy. Noel Streatfeild. Twayne, 1994.
Green's disparaging use of the...
Literary responses Susan Tweedsmuir
When ST sent her friend Angela Thirkell a copy of her children's book Arabella Takes Charge, Thirkell nearly cried over an episode about a dead bird.
Strickland, Margot. Angela Thirkell: Portrait of a Lady Novelist. Duckworth, 1977.
Literary responses Harriette Wilson
Biographer Frances Wilson writes, Harriette had great hopes for Clara Gazul, but it sank like a stone.
Wilson, Frances. The Courtesan’s Revenge. Faber, 2003.
Nevertheless, it is surprising that Angela Thirkell , in her biography of HW , pronounces Clara...
Literary responses Harriette Wilson
Contemporary admirers of HW on literary grounds included Walter Scott , who praised her dialogue and intelligence, and thought her out and out
Thirkell, Angela. The Fortunes of Harriette. Hamish Hamilton, 1936.
a better writer than Teresia Constantia Phillips or others in the...
Literary responses Winifred Peck
WP 's work has received little notice. Her Times obituary likened her to novelist Angela Thirkell for her marked talent for sharp characterization, amusing dialogue, and . . . ability to condense a life history...
Publishing Anthony Trollope
Angela Thirkell (an avowed disciple of Trollope) wrote an introduction for an edition of this novel in 1958; so did Pamela Hansford Johnson for the Norton edition four years later. A number of women writers...
Reception Harriette Wilson
The full title was Confessions of Julia Johnstone, written by herself. In contradiction to the fables of Harriette Wilson. It announces that Johnstone is writing to vindicate her character and those of friends, and...
Reception Barbara Pym
Another element that makes her hard to place is her comedy. Though her work has been likened to that of Drabble and Lively (both her champions) her place is rather with out-and-out satirists like Angela Thirkell
Residence Enid Bagnold
The house had once belonged to artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones . EB had a private tower room for writing and an agreement with her husband that she would have three undisturbed hours daily for her...
Textual Features Sue Townsend
Adrian Mole carried the genes of the British talent for humour, as formerly represented by Stella Gibbons and Angela Thirkell , but in a newly anarchic and ungenteel form. Like Richmal Crompton in the William...


Colin MacInnes (son of novelist Angela Thirkell ) published the first of his three Londonnovels of the 1950s, City of Spades, a pioneering study of immigrant Black society in Britain.