Mary Butts

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MB published five novels, three collections of short stories, some poems, a memoir, and several essays (one of which denounces the Bloomsbury Group). Her subjects ranged from the Great War and war trauma to history, religion, mysticism, and classical mythology. Her expressions of ecological concern (laments for the destruction of nature and the countryside by hikers and industrialisation) take a conservative, elitist, even racialist stance and set a premium on authentic Englishness. Beginning her career as a modernist, MB attracted considerable attention and praise (together with controversy) during her lifetime. By the time of her death she was seen primarily as a religious or mystical writer, and after it her writing remained largely neglected until a revival of interest in the 1990s.
Sepia photograph of Mary Butts, smiling, seated with her head turned to the side. She is wearing a dark, wide-brimmed hat and a loose-fitting shirt with a smocked yoke and pockets on each side, fastened at the neck with lacing. Her dark hair is short and curly, worn with dangling earrings.
"Mary Butts" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Photograph_of_Mary_Butts.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Milestones

13 December 1890
MB was born at a country house called Salterns at Parkstone, near Poole Harbour.
The name of the house means a place where salt was made.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
240
Blondel, Nathalie, and Mary Butts. “Introduction”. The Journals of Mary Butts, edited by Nathalie Blondel and Nathalie Blondel, Yale University Press, 2002, pp. 1 - 41.
3
Blondel, Nathalie. Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life. McPherson & Company, 1998.
15
By 16 May 1928
Armed with Madness, MB 's second novel and the first of her Taverner Novels, was published in New York by A. and C. Boni
“Contemporary Authors”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Centre-LRC.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
240
Garrity, Jane. Step-daughters of England: British Women Modernists and the National Imaginary. Manchester University Press, 2003.
235n14
5 March 1937
MB died in Cornwall, suddenly after an emergency operation for a perforated ulcer which seems to have produced peritonitis.
Blondel, Nathalie, and Nathalie Blondel. “Foreword”. Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life: A Biography, McPherson, 1998, p. xv - xix.
xv
“Mary Butts Papers”. Beinecke Rare Book Room and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
By September 1937
MB 's memoir, The Crystal Cabinet; My Childhood at Salterns, left unfinished at her death earlier this year, was published with a frontispiece drawing by Jean Cocteau .
Woolf, Virginia. The Letters of Virginia Woolf. Nicolson, Nigel and Joanne TrautmannEditors , Hogarth Press, 1980.
6: 172
Butts, Mary. The Crystal Cabinet. Metheun, 1937.
prelims
“Contemporary Authors”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Centre-LRC.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
240
Royde-Smith, Naomi, and Denis Dighton. The State of Mind of Mrs. Sherwood. Macmillan, 1946.
205

Biography

Birth and Background

13 December 1890
MB was born at a country house called Salterns at Parkstone, near Poole Harbour.
The name of the house means a place where salt was made.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
240
Blondel, Nathalie, and Mary Butts. “Introduction”. The Journals of Mary Butts, edited by Nathalie Blondel and Nathalie Blondel, Yale University Press, 2002, pp. 1 - 41.
3
Blondel, Nathalie. Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life. McPherson & Company, 1998.
15