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These candid letters from Rose Macaulay to her first cousin Jean Smith are previously unknown. Macaulay was one of the most versatile, successful, and significant women writers in the first half of the twentieth century, Smith a talented but diffident and depressive poet who was briefly an Anglican nun before converting to Roman Catholicism, a move that caused some difficulty between the two in the 1950s, when Macaulay exchanged High Church agnosticism for committed Anglicanism.
Macaulay’s letters to Smith, meticulously edited by a nephew of the recipient, throw fascinating and often amusing light not only on the writer’s private life, unconventional character, and varied career, but also on the lively literary and social circles in which she moved. Although the letters span the years 1913-1958, more than half were written between 1919 and 1926, an important period in Macaulay’s life and one previously ignored in published collections of her letters.
The book is essential reading not only for scholars, students, and fans of Macaulay, but also for all interested in British literary culture and women’s writing in the years 1919-1958. It will inform and entertain general readers as much as specialists.
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