Margaret Drabble

Standard Name: Drabble, Margaret
Birth Name: Margaret Drabble
Nickname: Maggie
Married Name: Margaret Swift
Married Name: Margaret Holroyd
Titled: Dame Margaret Holroyd
MD is a prolific, resourceful, and often surprising novelist and short-story writer, with a high reputation as a literary historian and critic. She is still widely identified with one of her early styles: the kitchen-sink realist depictions of highly-educated young women enmeshed in wifehood and motherhood. She has become an ambitious chronicler of the rising lifestyle and expectations of the late-twentieth-century professional classes; but also she is a persistent experimenter with techniques of allusion, symbolism, and contradiction of realist expectations.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Education Gillian Allnutt
Newnham, established in 1871 as a house in which young women could reside while attending lectures in Cambridge, was in 1971 one of the university's only three all-female colleges. (Since then Girton has begun to...
Family and Intimate relationships A. S. Byatt
ASB 's younger sister is novelist Margaret Drabble .
Fictionalization Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre has also been subject to a host of feminist revisions. Beatrice Kean Seymour 's The Hopeful Journey (1923) presents a response to, and The Second Mrs. Conford (1951) a reworking of, the novel's...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Jennings
She had a remarkably catholic talent for friendship. During her student days she became a friend of Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis . Her correspondents at this and later periods of her life included her...
Intertextuality and Influence Ursula K. Le Guin
Science Fiction and Mrs Brown opens with a long quotation in which Woolf relates how she observed this shabby, immaculate old lady on a train from Richmond to London, and saw her as the character...
Intertextuality and Influence George Eliot
Alison Booth has traced GE 's influence on Virginia Woolf , and several critics have anointed Margaret Drabble as her major successor among contemporary British writers.
Booth, Alison. Greatness Engendered. Cornell University Press.
Blake, Kathleen. “George Eliot: The Critical Heritage”. The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot, edited by George Levine and George Levine, Cambridge University Press, pp. 202-25.
As Gillian Beer notes, GEwas not...
Literary responses Rosamond Lehmann
Auberon Waugh likened A Sea-Grape Tree to pulp romance, The Times thought it unintentionally absurd, and Lorna Sage called the main characters paper people. Thoughtful and positive comments from Elizabeth Jane Howard
Literary responses Doris Lessing
The Guardian marked the book's fiftieth anniversary in 2012 with reflections on it by women of four generations. Diana Athill (born in 1917) says she took against it on its first appearance; she found it...
Literary responses Nell Dunn
This first book by ND was a runaway success, though most of its notoriety was supplied by the television and film treatments. As a book it brought her the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize for...
Literary responses Nell Dunn
According to Margaret Drabble , this book was, like its predecessor, another succès de scandale. It was also one of the first post-Chatterley books . . . to treat women's sexuality as though it were...
Literary responses Nell Dunn
Margaret Drabble praised it as treating an important and painful subject with insight, dignity and bravery. She called it accurate without sentimentality or alarmism, and commented on the authenticity of tone produced by Dunn's unparalleled...
Literary responses Barbara Pym
Initial comment included reviews or articles by A. S. Byatt and Marghanita Laski .
Allen, Orphia Jane. Barbara Pym: Writing a Life. Scarecrow Press.
198, 199
Orphia Jane Allen considers this work a thinly developed
Allen, Orphia Jane. Barbara Pym: Writing a Life. Scarecrow Press.
but effectively ironic, witty view of academia. Anne Wyatt-Brown
Literary responses Ruth Fainlight
Margaret Drabble chose this volume when invited to name her books of the year.
Evans-Bush, Katy. “The Poet Realized. An Interview with Ruth Fainlight”. Contemporary Poetry Review.
Literary responses Amber Reeves
W. L. George discerned in this novel the profound hopelessness of youth, and called its realism remarkable.
George, Walter Lionel. A Novelist on Novels. W. Collins Sons.
R. Brimley Johnson implied that its conclusions (about the ordinariness and stupidity of heroines) were...
Literary responses Amber Reeves
W. L. George felt that this novel developed AR 's highest quality, the understanding of the ordinary man [sic].
George, Walter Lionel. A Novelist on Novels. W. Collins Sons.
R. Brimley Johnson felt it would have been better if it had avoided tragedy and...


1952: Angus Wilson published Hemlock and After,...

Writing climate item


Angus Wilson published Hemlock and After, which Margaret Drabble in 2008 called one of the first gay novels to hit the postwar world.
“Back—due to popular demand”. The Guardian, pp. Review 4 - 6.

1965: Giles Gordon did a series of interviews for...

Women writers item


Giles Gordon did a series of interviews for The Scotsman with female authors: a species of writer that at the time wasn't particularly recognised, although it certainly had been in the previous century.

March 1969: Novelist Angus Wilson, recently appointed...

Writing climate item

March 1969

Novelist Angus Wilson , recently appointed Chair of the Literature Panel of the Arts Council , organised the council's first Writers' Tour, to North Wales.

June 1972: Spare Rib, a feminist periodical issued monthly...

Women writers item

June 1972

Spare Rib, a feminist periodical issued monthly by Spare Ribs from 27 Clerkenwell Close, London, was launched to put women's liberation on the news stands.
Doughan, David, and Denise Sanchez. Feminist Periodicals, 1855-1984. Harvester Press.

: Oneword Radio, with offices in London, was...

Building item

By Summer2000

Oneword Radio , with offices in London, was set up to broadcast to readers: the bulk of its programming came from audiobooks read serially, sometimes though not always abridged.


Drabble, Margaret. “1960s”. The Guardian, pp. Weekend 25 - 31.
Drabble, Margaret. A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman. Penguin, 2011.
Drabble, Margaret. “A Day Out in Kew”. Jane Austen Sings the Blues, edited by Nora Foster Stovel, University of Alberta Press, 2009, pp. 57-65.
Drabble, Margaret. A Natural Curiosity. Viking, 1989.
Drabble, Margaret. “A return to grass roots”. The Guardian, p. 5.
Drabble, Margaret. A Summer Bird-Cage. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1962.
Drabble, Margaret. “A Woman Writer”. On Gender and Writing, edited by Michelene Wandor, Pandora Press, 1983, pp. 156-9.
Drabble, Margaret, and Jorge Lewinsky. A Writer’s Britain: Landscape in Literature. Thames and Hudson, 1979.
Drabble, Margaret. “Amber Reeves (1887 - 1981)”. Breaking Bounds. Six Newnham Lives, edited by Biddy Passmore, Newnham College, 2014, pp. 40-51.
Drabble, Margaret. Angus Wilson: A Biography. Secker and Warburg, 1995.
Drabble, Margaret. Arnold Bennett. Knopf, 1974.
Drabble, Margaret. Arnold Bennett: A Biography. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1974.
Drabble, Margaret. “Books that made me”.
Drabble, Margaret. For Queen and Country: Britain in the Victorian Age. Deutsch, 1978.
Drabble, Margaret, and Nell Dunn. “Introduction”. Poor Cow, Virago, 1988, p. xi - xvi.
Drabble, Margaret. Jerusalem the Golden. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967.
Drabble, Margaret, and Bryan Stanley Johnson, editors. London Consequences. Greater London Arts Association (for the Festivals of London 1972), 1972.
Drabble, Margaret. “Pressure to Perform”. The Author, Vol.
, No. 4, pp. 162-4.
Drabble, Margaret. Safe as Houses. Chatto and Windus, 1990.
Drabble, Margaret, and Jenny Stringer, editors. The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford University Press, 1987.
Drabble, Margaret, and Jenny Stringer, editors. The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford University Press, 1996.
Drabble, Margaret. The Dark Flood Rises. Canongate, 2016.
Drabble, Margaret. “The Dower House at Kellynch: A Somerset Romance”. Persuasions, Vol.
, pp. 75-88.
Drabble, Margaret. “The English degenerate”.
Drabble, Margaret. The Garrick Year. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964.