Posted on 26/07/2012
Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett
Classical Studies, 1906 Royal Holloway College
Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, who has been famous as a novelist since the 1920s, developed a distinct form of novel set almost entirely in dialogue. Her work typically dissects personal relationships in the middle-class Edwardian household. She achieved her full stature with Brothers and Sisters (1929), about a wilful woman who inadvertently marries her half brother. The centre of Men and Wives (1931) has another determined woman, one whose tyranny drives her son to murder her. Murder again appears in More Women Than Men (1933), this time by a woman bent on keeping her nephew under her domination. In A House and Its Head (1935) the tyrant is a father. Her first novel, Dolores, is set in a women's college and was influenced heavily by her time at Royal Holloway.