Dorothy Edwards

Author(s): Claire Andrea Flay-Petty

Language: English

Genre(s): History

Series: Writers of Wales

  • October 2011 · 164pages · 216x138mm

  • ·Paperback - 9780708324400
  • · eBook - epub - 9781783162598
  • · eBook - mobi - 9781783162604
  • · eBook - pdf - 9780708324417

About The Book

Dorothy Edwards is the first full-length biographical and literary study of this enigmatic valleys-born writer. Combining close textual analysis with comprehensive biography, this book draws on previously unpublished archival material to fill in the details of Edwards’ life, and considers her work in the light of her views and experiences. Born in the south-Wales mining valley of Ogmore Vale in 1903, Edwards was raised in a radical socialist household during a period of political debate and industrial strife. And yet despite her upbringing, readers of Edwards’ work could be forgiven for initially believing hers to be the work of a middle-class English author. The paradox between upbringing and the literary world that she chose to create is central to Dorothy Edwards. The first of the book’s four chapters focuses on Edwards’ biography; informed by new manuscript material, it outlines the period from Edwards’ birth and upbringing, to the writing of Rhapsody (1927) and Winter Sonata (1928). The second chapter constitutes a reading of the short-story collection Rhapsody in the light of gender theories, while the third section offers the first in-depth study of Edwards’ only published novel, Winter Sonata. Finally, the book returns to discuss the year leading up to her suicide on 6th January 1934, which Edwards largely spent in London living with Bloomsbury author David Garnett and his family, and the impact that this experience had on her understanding of national and class divisions. Previously unpublished letters and diary entries offer an insight into her feelings and experiences during this turbulent period.


'In this book, Claire Flay succeeds in revitalising Dorothy Edwards and her writings for a new generation of readers; through her perceptive use of previously unexplored manuscript material, as well as her innovative readings of the published works, she throws new light on the radical and subversive subtext of Edwards' modernist fictions.' Professor Jane Aaron, School of Humanities, University of Glamorgan. 'At last this brilliant and neglected modernist has got the book-length study that her work and life so deserve. With a wealth of original research into the life, Claire Flay sets about exploring the development of Edwards's fiction and charts a course among the tensions of gender, class and nationality with painstaking skill. Historians of the early 20th century as well as literature lovers and those wanting to know more about Edwards will learn much from this book. It will become essential to the study of this astonishing writer and her enigmatic, tragic life.' Christopher Meredith, Faculty of Business and Society 'A full appreciation of the achievement of Dorothy Edwards in her fiction has only recently begun to emerge and Claire Flay's study - the first book-length ritical biography - is a major contribution to our understanding of this subtle and remarkable writer. Drawing extensively and perceptively from newly-available manuscript material, Claire Flay thoughtfully demonstrates how Edwards draws on her inner personal tensions - her sense of female marginalization, her lonely search for love, her struggle to define the nature of her Welsh identity - to create her unique fictional world. Hers is a genuinely Modern voice.' Professor Tony Brown, School of English, Bangor University

'... there can be no doubt to the service this book performs. The author's careful reading also turns up orignal observations that are of lasting value both in their own right and because they suggest directions for future scholarship ... the most significant contribution yet published to the understanding of Edwards.' Welsh History Review

About the Author(s)

Claire Andrea Flay-Petty

Dr Claire Andrea Flay-Petty holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Glamorgan.

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