E. M. Delafield, pseudonym of Edmée Elizabeth Monica Dashwood Biography
(1890–1943), pseudonym of Edmée Elizabeth Monica Dashwood, Zella Sees Herself, The War Workers, Humbug
British novelist, born in Monmouthshire, the daughter of Count Henry de la Pasture and Mrs Henry de la Pasture, a popular novelist. She adopted the pseudonym ‘E. M. Delafield’, a loose translation of her French ancestral name, to avoid confusion between her own writing and her mother's. Her first novel, Zella Sees Herself (1917), was followed by over thirty others, including The War Workers (1918), Humbug (1922), The Way Things Are (1927), What Is Love (1928), Woman Are Like That (1929), Thank Heaven Fasting (1932), Nothing Is Safe (1937), and Now No-one Will Know (1941). She is best known for the series of novels, written in journal form, describing the day-to-day existence of a middle-class married woman living in a small country town during the 1930s and 1940s, beginning with The Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930) and including The Provincial Lady Goes Further (1932), The Provincial Lady in America (1934), and The Provincial Lady in Wartime (1940). Delafield's novels are characterized by an elegant and occasionally sardonic wit and by a refusal to sentimentalize the lives and conditions of her characters, most of them women whose circumstances, although relatively affluent, allow little room for intellectual or emotional development. Delafield also wrote three plays, To See Ourselves (1930), The Glass Wall (1933), and The Mulberry Bush (1935).