Sylvia Townsend Warner

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STW once commented that her career in writing was an accidental one, as her initial career was in musicology. However, she was very prolific for more than fifty years of the twentieth century over a considerable range of genres, including poetry, fourteen volumes of short stories, journal articles, radio plays, seven novels, biographies, and translations. Her letters and diaries have been published as well. Her fiction often explores supernatural themes and the twists of human psychology. She has been particularly praised for her short stories about middle-class characters, mainly women: for acute observation, clarity, precision, simplicity, and originality of language and of imagery.

Milestones

6 December 1893
STW was born at Harrow on the Hill in Middlesex.
Warner, Sylvia Townsend. “Introduction”. Letters: Sylvia Townsend Warner, edited by William Maxwell, Chatto and Windus, 1982, p. vii - xvii.
ix
Harman, Claire. Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography. Chatto and Windus, 1989.
6
1925
STW 's first published book, The Espalier, was an unusually large collection of poetry written from 1922 to 1924 and dedicated to P. C. Buck .
Buck, a musicologist who taught at Harrow, had at this time been STW 's lover for many years.
Warner, Sylvia Townsend. “Editorial Materials”. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Collected Poems, edited by Claire Harman, Carcanet New Press, 1982, pp. xi - xxiii; 275.
xiv, xix, 278
10 March 1926
STW published her second book and first novel, Lolly Willowes; or, The Loving Huntsman, in which a woman decides to become a witch. It was a great success.
Borne Back Daily.
16 April 2008
Warner, Sylvia Townsend. “Editorial Materials”. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Collected Poems, edited by Claire Harman, Carcanet New Press, 1982, pp. xi - xxiii; 275.
xviii
Staley, Thomas F., editor. Dictionary of Literary Biography 34. Gale Research, 1985.
34: 277, 279
1 May 1978
STW died of respiratory problems brought on by old age, at her home in Lower Frome Vauchurch, near Maiden Newton in Dorset.
Mulford, Wendy. This Narrow Place. Pandora, 1988.
141, 243, 246

Biography

Birth and Influences

6 December 1893
STW was born at Harrow on the Hill in Middlesex.
Warner, Sylvia Townsend. “Introduction”. Letters: Sylvia Townsend Warner, edited by William Maxwell, Chatto and Windus, 1982, p. vii - xvii.
ix
Harman, Claire. Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography. Chatto and Windus, 1989.
6