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Johnson, Pamela Hansford

(British, 1912–81)

Born in south London, Johnson trained as a stenographer before the publication of her first novel, This Bed Thy Centre (1935). Begin with this story, which typifies much of her work in its focus on a love relationship in London settings with graphically evoked social conditions. Its attempt at sexual candour caused controversy. In a different vein, try the three books featuring her poet-heroine Dorothy Merlin. The first, The Unspeakable Skipton (1959), satirizes literary pretensions in its treatment of the eccentrically despicable Skipton. Night and Silence! Who is Here? (1963) followed, offering a richly comic view of American academic life. In the last of the Merlin books, Cork Street, Next to the Hatter's (1965), the vanity of the acting profession is her satirical target.

Margaret Drabble, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Olivia Manning DH

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ha-Ke)