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Pauline Smith (Pauline Janet Smith) Biography

(1882–1959), (Pauline Janet Smith), The Beadle, The Little Karoo, The Adelphi, A. B, Pauline Smith

South African novelist and short-story writer, born in Oudtshoorn, Cape Province, educated in Britain from the age of 13. She wrote only one novel, The Beadle (1926), and a collection of short stories, The Little Karoo (1925; expanded edition 1930). Her work is generally acknowledged to be a sensitive and accurate depiction of the harsh, acquisitive, and oppressively patriarchal life of Calvinistic Afrikaner farmers in the desolate Little Karoo region, where she grew up, and where her English father was a physician. The Beadle treats of a love affair between a self-sacrificing Afrikaner woman and an amiable, hedonistic Englishman. Like the stories, the novel achieves a poignant balance between nostalgia for a vanished way of life and realism about its difficulties, even cruelties. Her most prominent literary mentors in England were the critic John Middleton Murry, who first published her stories in The Adelphi, and Arnold Bennett, who greatly encouraged her. Her generous tribute to the novelist, A. B. (1933), appeared two years after his death. See Geoffrey Haresnape, Pauline Smith (1969).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk