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Pritchett, V(ictor) S(awdon)

collections story style stories

(British, 1900–97)

Best known as a short-story writer and literary journalist, V. S. Pritchett was born in Ipswich, the son of a travelling salesman. He spent his childhood in the English regions and left school in 1915 to take up an apprenticeship in the leather trade. He travelled to Paris in 1921, working as a photographer, then became a journalist in Ireland and Spain. Pritchett published the first of many story collections in 1930, and The Camberwell Beauty (1974), with its title story's wryly observed account of the rivalry in love and trade of a group of small-time antique dealers, is typical of Pritchett's style. The Collected Stories (1982) is a good selection from Pritchett's many collections up to that date, and More Collected Stories (1983) appeared the following year. Pritchett's two acclaimed volumes of autobiography, A Cab at the Door (1968) and Midnight Oil (1971), vividly evoke the textures of a past which the author knew at first hand, but which even as he wrote was coming to seem remote and inaccessible. Pritchett also published biographies of Turgenev and Balzac, travel writing, and several collections of literary essays and criticism. He is widely regarded as one of the finest writers of short fiction to emerge in England in the twentieth century, and his style is marked by humour, compassion, and an eye for telling detail.

Elizabeth Bowen; D. H. Lawrence; Anton Chekhov  WB

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