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Elizabeth Jane Howard Biography

(1923– ), The Beautiful Visit, The Long View, The Sea Change, After Julius, Something in Disguise

British novelist, born in London; she originally trained as an actress, but left the repertory circuit to work as a model, secretary, book reviewer, editor, and finally a full-time writer. Her first novel, The Beautiful Visit (1950), introduces one of Howard's central themes: an intelligent woman's search for the security denied her in a painfully inadequate childhood. The Long View (1956) is a well-crafted novel which begins with the break-up of a marriage in 1950, then dissects the 25-year relationship backwards through time. In subsequent novels (The Sea Change, 1959; After Julius, 1965; Something in Disguise, 1969; Odd Girl Out, 1972; Getting It Right, 1982) she has expanded her range to include less genteel characters and more complex, sometimes quietly comical, situations. The Light Years (1990), Marking Time (1991), Confusion (1993) and Casting Off (1995) form ‘The Cazalet Chronicle’, about a large English family from 1937 onwards. She has also written several screenplays, television and radio plays, and a collection of short stories (Mr Wrong, 1975), and has compiled Green Shades: An Anthology of Plants, Gardens and Gardeners (1991). With Fay Maschler, she has written Cooking for Occasions (1994, previously entitled Howard and Maschler on Food, 1987). She was formerly married to Kingsley Amis.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Honest Ulsterman to Douglas Hyde Biography