Warner, Sylvia Townsend

Warner, Sylvia Townsend, 1893–1978, English novelist and poet. Her first published work was poetry, The Espalier (1925), but she became more generally known with two novels of gentle fantasy, Lolly Willowes (1926) and Mr. Fortune's Maggot (1927). In The Corner That Held Them (1948), generally regarded as her masterpiece, she told the story of a 13th-century convent with a scholar's knowledge of the period, in a style that combined a poetic sensibility with wit and irony. For many years Warner lived a retiring life in Dorset with Valentine Ackland. She wrote several volumes of short stories, including Swans on an Autumn River (1966), The Innocent and the Guilty (1971), and Kingdoms of Elfin (1977); and a highly regarded biography of T. H. White (1967). Her Collected Poems were published in 1983.

See her diaries, ed. by C. Harman (1994); I'll Stand by You (1999), letters to Valentine Ackland, ed. by S. Pinney, and The Element of Lavishness: Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell, 1938–1978 (2001), ed. by M. Steinman; partial biography by W. Mulford (1988) and biography by C. Harman (1989).

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