By Sylvia Townsend Warner
Sylvia Townsend Warner's first novel, published in 1926, is magical and subversive, anticipating the ficton of writers like Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson.
Lolly Willowes is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster when her adored father dies, leaving her dependent upon her brothers and their wives. After twenty years of self-effacement as a maiden aunt, she decides to break free and moves to a small Bedfordshire village. Here, happy and unfettered, she enjoys her new existence nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover. That secret - and her vocation - is witchcraft, and with her cat and a pact with the Devil, Lolly Willowes is finally free.
An instant success on its publication in 1926, LOLLY WILLOWES is Sylvia Townsend Warner's first and most magical novel. Deliciously wry and inviting, it was her piquant plea that single women find liberty and civility, a theme that would later be explored by Virginia Woolf in 'A Room of One's Own'.
Born in Harrow (1893-1978), Sylvia Townsend Warner published seven novels, four volumes of poetry, a volume of essays and eight volumes of short stories. She lived most of her adult life with her close companion Valentine Ackland in Dorset and Norfolk.
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- Publication date:
01 Mar 2012
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The novel sharply undercuts its genteel appearance to reveal a dark and visceral heart ... An elegantly enchanting tale that transcends its era — Lucy Scholes, Observer
One of our most idiosyncratic, courageous and versatile writers — HERMIONE LEE
'Witty, eerie, tender' — Times Literary Supplement
She has a talent amounting to genius — John Updike, New Yorker