The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

November 19, 2012

November 19, 1975

Elizabeth Coles was born on July 3, 1912 in Reading, Berkshire. She  grew up and wrote novels. Her literary reputation has grown considerably since her death. The following is probably from her article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
She has been described as  "best known for not being better known"....Kingsley Amis named her "one of the best English novelists born in this century"; Antonia Fraser called her "one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century". Hilary Mantel says that she is "deft, accomplished and somewhat underrated...."

[Elizabeth Coles]... led a highly respectable Home Counties life, married to a chocolate manufacturer, [named Taylor] and many of her books are, on the surface, about lives comfortably lived. ..."What she loved best, I think, were outbreaks of vulgarity, embarrassingly improper behaviour, people saying or doing exactly the wrong thing."...One of her main strengths, however, effectively removed her from literary fashion. She must be the last serious English novelist with a consistent interest in domestic servants; her housekeepers, cooks and companions provided ample ammunition for anyone wanting to arraign her for bourgeois cosiness....Taylor's characters are all so truthful because, above all, she was a great virtuoso of dialogue.

One of her novels,  A View of the Harbour (1947) contains this lovely description: "[L]ater she lay in bed, naked as she liked to be, with a cat on either side; silken fur against her flesh..." Elizabeth Coles Taylor died on 
 November 19,  1975, in Penn, Buckinghamshire.  She arranged for most of her letters to be destroyed. 

No comments: