Three new Persephones in April

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Three new Persephones in April

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Editado: Maio 1, 2008, 9:17 am

The first one will be The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby and the second book to be published in April will be Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, apparently by Penelope Mortimer ( never heard of either ). Nicola Beauman's A Very Great Profession will also be republished in April ( it had previously been published by Virago but has been out of print for a while ).

Any thoughts about these titles ?

I had never heard of the two novels, but I already wanted Nicola Beauman's book : does anyone own it ? How is it ?

Fev 23, 2008, 11:05 am

I want to read anything by Winifred Holtby!!!

Fev 23, 2008, 2:43 pm

>2 marise:
Marise, that shows your excellent taste!

>1 Sibylle.Night:
I have the Virago edition of Nicola Beauman's A Very Great Profession. There is a long tradition of writers publishing their own works and I am sure that my opinion will not be shared, but I can't help but feel it is a little vainglorious an activity. Discuss...

Editado: Fev 24, 2008, 2:31 am

Marise, I must say, you are one of the groups more passionate readers.....I admire you so!

fabrile-heart, as for Nicola Beauman, I've become more than neutral on her attributes since reading her bi-monthly Persephone letter and witnessing her very abrupt sever of Anne Sebba's talk about The Shuttle at the Tea last April.

Fev 24, 2008, 11:49 am

I'd be quite interested in at least skimming A Very Great Profession. It seems to me the really seminal* book in this line is Elaine Showalter's A Literature of Their Own (1977), which evidently inspired the creation of the Virago Modern Classics.

*I perhaps shouldn't use that word when talking about women's literature.

Fev 26, 2008, 9:42 am

fabrile-heart and bleuroses, I fully agree with your opinion of Nicola Beauman!

Fev 27, 2008, 7:18 pm

Hooray, Winifred Holtby! I love South Riding, which is still in print in Virago. I've never heard of the second book or author, though.

I quite liked A Very Great Profession, having managed to track down a copy last year; it gave me a long list of writers to track down. (Though I do agree that it's perhaps a little vainglorious for Persephone to publish it, perhaps readers have been asking for it? My copy was certainly not easy to find.)

Editado: Fev 28, 2008, 3:45 pm

I read a very interesting bio about Nicola the other day and will post it here when I locate it again. Her book A Very Great Profession was the inspiration for Persephone. She then modeled it after The Book Society in that they publish only a few books a year AND be the sole distributer. It was an informative article that places her (and her book) in an entirely different light.

gwyneira, I've been searching for A Very Great Profession and I must say, it isn't easy to come by, and when found, quite expensive!

*off to my office in search of that article!!...oh, this feeble brain*

ETA - As far as I know, The Book Society that she refers to is defunct. Does anyone know otherwise?

Fev 28, 2008, 9:29 am

>8 bleuroses:

blue, I look forward to reading that article (if you can find it)! I am sure that the inspiration behind the foundation of Persephone Books was entirely laudable, it's just that I feel that there has been a lack of finesse about the way some situations have been handled and this seems to be at odds with the very essence of PB.

>7 gwyneira:
gwyneira, I have recently been delving into issues of Time and Tide. This feminist journal was started in May 1920 by Lady Rhondda and had a weekly book review and Book Club recommendation list. Many of the authors that Virago and Persephone publish are familiar names amongst its pages. New York Public Library offers free access to it, and I am sure there are other institutions in the US and the UK that will hold this serial in their archives.

If you do track it down I am certain that you will, as I have done, come away with a very long list of books you would like to read!

Editado: Fev 28, 2008, 10:38 am

>8 bleuroses: Is it either of the ones on her LT author page? The one from The Independent sounds a bit like what you describe.

Editado: Fev 28, 2008, 4:15 pm

christiguc, the very one; however, the following paragraph has been omitted:

Born in London in 1944, Nicola Beauman was educated at St Paul's Girls' School and read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. She worked in publishing as a reader and freelance editor, married for the first time in 1965 and spent two years in New York. Her first book was A Very Great Profession: the woman's novel 1914-39 (1983), and she wrote two biographies: Cynthia Asquith (1987) and Morgan: a life of E M Forster (1993). She has worked as a journalist, written introductions to books for Virago, and contributed articles on women writers to the New Dictionary of National Biography. She has five children, aged between 15 and 32, and lives in Hampstead with her second husband, Chris Beauman, an economist.

Still, and I agree fabrile-heart, her superiority is unbecoming.

As for TIME and TIDE, I've been searching for more info on this journal after seeing it often in the 'blurbs'. Since you've mentioned Lady Rhondda, well, just google her and what treasure! Here's a link to a very lengthy excerpt from British Women Writers, 1914-1945: Professional Work And Friendship By Catherine Clay:

Lady Rhondda and Winifred Holtby, Time and Tide"

Thank you, Miss fabrile-heart, for this enlightening and exciting information, and for the greater detriment to my credit card!

ETA - now I'm off to get lost in the archives of the NYPL!!

Fev 29, 2008, 11:23 am

you are very welcome bleu, enjoy :)

Mar 2, 2008, 5:18 am

Re. Time and Tide, Dale Spender edited a selection of articles in Time and Tide Wait for No Man. I only dipped into it as part of reading for my Masters degree, but it looked interesting.

Mar 8, 2008, 5:46 pm

fabrile-heart, charbutton: Oh, I'd never thought of tracking down issues of Time and Tide, though I've often read about it -- what a good idea. I live in a fairly small community, alas, with a small library system, but I did just order a copy of the Dale Spender book from Abebooks. Hooray for more lists of books to read!

Maio 1, 2008, 9:09 am

Hello. I think this is my first time leaving a comment here, though I've been a member for a while. I love Persephone books, but I have been a bit put off by some of the comments made on their website via those fortnightly letters. Since then I've tended to stay away (I'd just rather read the books rather than get caught up in those negative discussions--those superior attitudes seem very excluding if that makes sense), and I didn't realize there were three new books out this month. Strangely I recently heard of Nicola Beauman's book and requested it from my library's ILL (as used copies seem very expensive). When I was searching around I discovered it had been reprinted. Although it might be a little off putting that the author is publishing her own work, if it makes a book I want to buy more affordable, I guess I can't complain. I just picked the library copy up yesterday and haven't had much time to read it yet. It does seem like it might be a good resource. I will also have to look for the Showalter book, too!

Editado: Maio 1, 2008, 9:24 am

I don't know if you've read the new Biannually but this thread is quoted. Fabrile Heart and Gwyneira, you're famous ! (well, sort of)
It is a bit strange to republish one's own book but its description in the new Biannually makes me want to read it. My only fear is that it will probably not be a good thing for my TBR pile...
Danielle, welcome here, don't hesitate to post more often :) I think I've already told you how much I enjoy your blog, it's nice to see you here as well !

Maio 1, 2008, 9:28 am

>16 Sibylle.Night:

more like infamous Sibylle.Night ;)

Maio 1, 2008, 9:40 am

What page is it on? I haven't read it all, yet, but did a quick skim and must have missed it.

Maio 1, 2008, 1:16 pm

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Maio 1, 2008, 1:19 pm

>18 marise:
Marise, it's on page 6, at the beginning of the third column.

>17 woollenstuff:
That's actually the first time she's ever printed some criticism about a new book (which I understand, you can't possibly introduce a book you want to sell by quoting people who think it's rubbish). So I think there's definitely a weirdness factor on both parts.

Maio 1, 2008, 1:22 pm

I've not yet received the new Biannual--I hope I get it soon! Has it been out for a while?

Maio 1, 2008, 1:35 pm

I know I will not receive it, I have not bought any books from them!

Editado: Maio 1, 2008, 1:44 pm

>21 dmsimpson: I received mine yesterday. From what people have been saying on the group message board, people in the US have started getting theirs within the last couple of days, so yours should be there soon. Never fear!

Editado: Maio 2, 2008, 1:33 pm

aluvalibri, I haven't purchased any from them since last year either and still received it. I'm sure you will too.

Danielle, it was mailed within the last two weeks. On a another note, I'm happy to see you here as well. Your blog is wonderful!

Infamous is right, little Fabrile-heart! It is curious though. She must read these threads from time to time! It's probably the only Persephone group that's most active. The group on Facebook is very quiet by comparison.

ETA: I did receive 2 Persephones as gifts last year. Perhaps that counts.

Maio 1, 2008, 5:00 pm

I did catch the snippets from this thread, but my favorite bit was in "Our Readers Write." BD of London SW12 writes: "I detect that the Biannually is becoming increasingly smug and I found the latest edition unbearable. The section 'Our Readers Write' is now heavily lifted from blogs—an inherently self-engrossing medium which rarely makes interesting reading." At least Nicola didn't have to make her own disparaging comments about blogging this time around!

Hi, Nicola! I love the books! You can quote me on that!

Maio 3, 2008, 1:31 pm

Hi. My biannually came yesterday--yay!

Bleuroses--Thanks for the kind words!

Rob--I thought that comment was a bit strange since I get the feeling that Nicola doesn't care for blogs. In any case if a reader enthuses about a Persephone book either by writing the press directly or posting something on a blog, what difference does it make since the intent is basically the same?

Maio 5, 2008, 8:12 pm

How odd to know that Nicola Beauman reads our group. I just now picked up the Biannually which I got a couple of days ago, and noticed that she'd quoted me and Fabrile-heart. At least she presumably saw that I do like her book. :)

I've ordered The Crowded Street and Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (this is bringing up the wrong touchstone, alas) and can't wait for them to arrive (especially the former). I do hope Persephone does more Holtby after this, as even the Virago reprints of her books aren't easy to find (save for South Riding, of course).

Maio 5, 2008, 8:16 pm

>27 gwyneira: gwyneira, I received my VMC edition of The Crowded Street at the weekend, and have literally just finished it. I think it is probably my favourite Holtby novel. I hope you enjoy your PB edition when it arrives!