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Delafield, E(dmee) M(onica) (Dashwood)

provincial life novels lady

(British, 1890–1943)

E. M. Delafield wrote over thirty novels, of which the best known are the series beginning with The Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930). These wonderfully funny books are written as a journal, and describe the daily life of the narrator, her gloomily taciturn husband, her exuberant children and histrionic French governess, and a range of comically unsatisfactory servants. Delafield's humour arises from her narrator's diffident, bemused attitude to the small dramas (and lack of drama) in her life; and from her extremely sharp observations on social class. These novels are also an excellent source of social history, giving a precise picture of the life and attitudes of a particular type of middle-class, educated woman in the 1920s. All four Provincial Lady novels were reprinted together under the title The Diary of a Provincial Lady in 1984.

Mary Wesley, Joanna Trollope, Sue Townsend  JR

Delderfield, R(onald) F(rederick) [next] [back] Deighton, Len

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