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Victoria Glendinning Biography

(1937– ), Times Literary Supplement, Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a Writer

vita west bowen life

British biographer and novelist, born in Sheffield, educated at Somerville College, Oxford, and the University of Southampton. She was a part-time schoolteacher from 1960 to 1969, when she became a psychiatric social worker; she was subsequently an editorial assistant at the Times Literary Supplement until 1978. Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a Writer (1977) argued persuasively for the importance of Bowen's contribution to modern fiction and established Glendinning's reputation as an authoritative and sensitive biographer. The book was the first of a series of treatments of literary women which continued with Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn among Lions (1981) and her acclaimed and popular work Vita: The Life of Vita Sackville-West (1983); Rebecca West was deeply impressed by Vita and, shortly before her death, asked Glendinning to write her biography: Rebecca West: A Life appeared in 1987. Anthony Trollope (1992), her first extended study of a male author, was also published to wide acclaim. Her other works include The Grown Ups (1989), a humorous novel of sexual intrigue, and Electricity (1995), an account of a spirited young woman's adventures in the 1880s and the choices of her age: science versus religion, spiritualism or rationalism, gas or electricity. Glendinning married Terence de Vere White in 1982.

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