Barbara Pym

Standard Name: Pym, Barbara
Birth Name: Barbara Mary Crampton Pym
Pseudonym: Tom Crampton
Self-constructed Name: Sandra
BP was a distinguished, understatedly comic novelist of the twentieth century, whose autobiographical writings (diaries, letters, and notebooks) were published only after her death.
Wyatt-Brown, Anne M. Barbara Pym: A Critical Biography. University of Missouri Press.
1-2, 9
Pym, Barbara. “Editorial Materials”. A Very Private Eye, edited by Hazel Holt and Hilary Pym, Macmillan, p. various pages.
Having achieved moderate success during her early career and then fallen out of favour, she was dramatically rediscovered and re-evaluated only three years before her death. Since then her stock has been high, despite a touch of condescension evidenced in her being seen as a miniaturist and novelist of manners, and likened to Jane Austen . She is also related to such contemporaries as Ivy Compton-Burnett (her senior) and Margaret Drabble and Penelope Lively (her juniors). Her fiction focusses on middle-class, unmarried women constrained to live on the margins of society. It is unfailingly sensitive to the more ludicrous aspects of gender conventions. Lively argues that what is going on is not tart observation of social manoeuvrings but a devastating, sublimely unfair, wonderfully funny and ultimately fatalistic analysis of the relations between men and women.
Blain, Virginia et al., editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Fictionalization Charlotte Elliott
The twentieth-century novelist Barbara Pym was planning at the time of her death to construct a novel (which she did not live to finish) around a Victorian hymn-writing woman like CE or Frances Ridley Havergal .
Pym, Barbara. A Very Private Eye. Editors Holt, Hazel and Hilary Pym, Macmillan.
Fictionalization Frances Ridley Havergal
The twentieth-century novelist Barbara Pym was planning at the time of her death to construct a novel around a Victorian hymn-writing woman like FRH or Charlotte Elliott —but it remained unwritten.
Pym, Barbara. A Very Private Eye. Editors Holt, Hazel and Hilary Pym, Macmillan.
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Taylor
Friends said that ET was very shy, but cared very much for very few people.
Liddell, Robert, and Francis King. Elizabeth and Ivy. Peter Owen.
She was lucky in that Ivy Compton-Burnett (who was a generation older than she was, and notoriously difficult) and...
Friends, Associates Iris Murdoch
She met Brigid Brophy (another friend who was years tempestuously a lover) in 1954. This relationship survived several crises, when Brophy took offence at Murdoch's actions or expressed dislike for her writing. IM met Elizabeth Bowen
Intertextuality and Influence Elizabeth von Arnim
Barbara Pym , who discovered EA at during her student days at Oxford , acknowledged the influence of her wit and delicate irony.
Maddison, Isobel. “A Second Flowering”. London Library Magazine, No. 15, pp. 14-16.
Von Arnim continues to attract readers, in German translation as well...
Intertextuality and Influence Shena Mackay
Its tone savours of the mordant and deliberately shocking themes which became SM 's trademark. But the title story is written with charm. It centres on unfriendly nextdoor neighbours in semi-detached houses, Alfred Ellis and...
Literary responses Naomi Royde-Smith
The Times Literary Supplement called a beautifully produced miniature of a novel, marred only by too great rarefaction.
TLS Centenary Archive Centenary Archive [1902-2012].
1402 (13 December 1928): 986
Barbara Pym , reading The Lover in July 1943, in the context...
Literary responses E. J. Scovell
After this appeared, Poetry Review applied to EJS another phrase which has been quoted more than once in discussions of her work: probably the best neglected poet in the country. The same article suggested that...
Literary responses Margaret Drabble
The British Book News review likened this book, as a state-of-the-nation novel, to Dickens 's Hard Times. The review concluded: If this is not one of Margaret Drabble's best-balanced books, it presents a powerful...
Literary responses Mary Wesley
Early praise for MW 's work came from such different writers as Marghanita Laski and Susan Hill . Other commentators likened her work to that of Rose Macaulay , Elizabeth Bowen , Barbara Pym ...
Literary responses Charlotte Yonge
The Daisy Chain's popularity was long-lasting, though not so intense as that of The Heir of Redclyffe. Jane Austen 's nephew James Austen-Leigh compared it to the work of Austen and Scott ...
Literary responses Charlotte Yonge
The Athenæum commented that the book reflects CY 's great strength of total self-effacement as a narrator. This method produces utterly credible characters, it said; members of a family bear a family likeness, though each...
Literary responses J. K. Rowling
Early reviews in North America were a lot less kind. Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times (while professing admiration for Rowling's gumption in moving on from Harry) called the characters self-absorbed, small-minded, snobbish and...
Literary responses Margaret Kennedy
A later novelist, Barbara Pym , thought of The Heroes of Clone as pattern for a fiction setting side by side what researchers and biographers write of a person's life and then what really did...
Literary responses Penelope Mortimer
Reviews were positively reverential. The Spectator called PM[o]ne of our most outstanding contemporary novelists,The Listener credited her with suave virtuosity, and the Times Literary Supplement called this novel brilliantly planned, taut, intelligent...


8 May 2008: Virago Press marked thirty years of Virago...

Women writers item

8 May 2008

Virago Press marked thirty years of Virago Modern Classics by re-issuing works by Barbara Pym , E. M. Delafield , Elizabeth Taylor , Jacqueline Susann , Muriel Spark , Helene Hanff , Zora Neale Hurston , and Angela Carter .


Pym, Barbara. A Few Green Leaves. Macmillan, 1980.
Pym, Barbara. A Glass of Blessings. Jonathan Cape, 1958.
Pym, Barbara. A Very Private Eye. Editors Holt, Hazel and Hilary Pym, Macmillan, 1984.
Pym, Barbara. An Academic Question. Macmillan, 1986.
Pym, Barbara. An Unsuitable Attachment. Macmillan, 1982.
Pym, Barbara. Civil to Strangers and Other Writings. Macmillan, 1987.
Pym, Barbara. Crampton Hodnet. Macmillan, 1985.
Pym, Barbara. “Editorial Materials”. A Very Private Eye, edited by Hazel Holt and Hilary Pym, Macmillan, 1984, p. various pages.
Pym, Barbara. Excellent Women. Jonathan Cape, 1952.
Pym, Barbara. Jane and Prudence. Jonathan Cape, 1953.
Pym, Barbara. Less Than Angels. Jonathan Cape, 1955.
Pym, Barbara. No Fond Return of Love. Jonathan Cape, 1961.
Pym, Barbara. Quartet in Autumn. Macmillan, 1977.
Pym, Barbara. Some Tame Gazelle. Jonathan Cape, 1950.
Pym, Barbara. Some Tame Gazelle. Jonathan Cape, 1978.
Pym, Barbara. The Sweet Dove Died. Macmillan, 1978.