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.

June 19, 2017

June 19, 1900

Elizabeth Sprigge (June 19, 1900 to December 9, 1974 ) was a British writer. Her titles include biographies, translations, and fiction she wrote. Her Who's Who article lists these titles:

Under novels:

A Shadowy Third, 1929;
Faint Amorist, 1930;
The Old Man Dies, 1933;
Castle in Andalusia, 1935;
The Son of the House, 1937;
The Raven’s Wing, 1940.

A play:

(with Katriona Sprigge) Elizabeth of Austria (produced at Garrick Theatre), 1939.

and children’s books: 

Children Alone, 1935; 
Pony Tracks, 1936; 
Two Lost on Dartmoor, 1940; (with Elizabeth Muntz) 
The Dolphin Bottle, 1965.

And of course, the biographies:

The Strange Life of August Strindberg,
Gertrude Stein, Her Life and Work, 1957;
Jean Cocteau, The Man and the Mirror, 1968 (with Jean-Jacques Kihm);
Sybil Thorndike Casson, 1971;
The Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett, 1973;
Journal in Quest of Gertrude Stein, 1973.

Her translations include:

Six Plays of Strindberg, 1955;
Five Plays of Strindberg, 1960;
Mary Stuart in Scotland, Bjørnsterne Bjørnson (Edinburgh Festival), 1960;
Twelve Plays of Strindberg, 1963;
The Difficulty of Being, by Jean Cocteau, 1966;
The Red Room, by August Strindberg, 1967

There is a certain talent that manifests itself in the privileged classes. Elizabeth Sprigge is an example. Her father, Sir Squire Sprigge was the editor of the Lancet. Her mother, Mary Moss, was the daughter of Sir Charles Moss who had been the Chief Justice of Ontario.

During World II Sprigge worked at the Ministry of Information, (1941–44) as a Swedish Specialist. In 1946 she and her husband Mark Napier divorced and Elizabeth soon added theatre director (The Watergate Theatre) to her resume.

Her biography, Jean Cocteau: the Man and the Mirror mentions cats (of course.) Sprigge's details lend a nice dimension.  She points out that the actress Cocteau was close to, in the early part of the century just past, Madeleine Carlier,.."was a great lover of cats and had persuaded Cocteau to have three Siamese."

The intersection of  privilege and genius is by no means explicable.

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