The Early Novels

  • Annette Weld


Perhaps not surprisingly, given the abrupt caesura in her publishing career, Barbara Pym’s novels group themselves handily into catego­ries: the earliest, most broadly comic — Crampton Hodnet, Some Tame Gazelle, Civil to Strangers, and Excellent Women; the ‘middle’ novels, confident, literary, and brimming with detail — Jane and Prudence, Less Than Angels, A Glass of Blessings, and No Fond Return of Love; and the final, more problematical group — An Unsuitable Attachment, An Academic Question, The Sweet Dove Died, Quartet in Autumn, and A Few Green Leaves. The eight novels comprising the first two groups share a lightness of spirit and tone and inhabit such similar comic worlds that they can be examined together as Pym’s earliest efforts in the novel of manners. These are the works that first enlist Pym’s fans, the ones which establish her consistency and satisfy all the criteria for something ‘very Barbara Pym’.


Short Story Academic Question Fairy Tale Unmarried Daughter Narrative Voice 
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© Annette Weld 1992

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  • Annette Weld

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