Monday, May 20, 2013

Two Glamorous Novelists

These two gloriously glamorous dames are from a small collection of author photographs I bought recently. They are both from the Eileen Clarke Agency and photographed by Clayton Evans. Both have an affinity with us here at Callum James Books, touching on two of our specialities. Audrey Erskine Lindop (above) is a little known novelist, and indeed, little is known about her today. Her most famous work was probably The Singer Not the Song, the film of which was known for what Wikipedia describes as its "homosexual undertones" but she also wrote a much more full-on gay novel, Details of Jeremy Stretton, so full-on in fact that the publishers in 1955 felt the need not only to get a Forward written by a "Consultant in Psychiatry" but also to print that forward again on the flaps of the jacket. I haven't read it: the Forward or the novel. I can't bring myself to. The alternative names that the novel was later published under included The Outer Ring and The Tormented. Nonetheless, she was a fine-looking woman.

Another fine-looking woman from the collection is featured below. Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) was born in Dublin but her father's illness meant she spent a great deal of her childhood in England with relatives there. Many think that this unhappy start was what prompted and fed the recurring themes of isolation and family breakdown in her writing. She wrote both novels and short stories and, for our purposes becomes interesting for her Ghost stories. She wasn't a prolific writer of supernatural fiction but, to quote critic Neil Wilson, they were "of such a high standard that she has gained a reputation as one of the most sophisticated and mature writers in the genre". 

Although both photographs were probably taken in the 1960s I feel they retain that 30s film-star look somehow...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for alerting me to two writers I have never heard of before. I found a very tiny advertising "blurb" for Lindop's novel in a 1953 review of new fiction. Of "The Singer Not the Song," the reviewer concisely remarks:
"Many characters, much action-Mexican atmosphere."
"Mexican" is italicized in the review, leading someone who was not born until many decades later if "Mexican" was a euphemism for "gay"?
At any rate, it sounds like a review for a Bel Ami movie--"Frisky Holiday in Las Hadas Manzillo," say, more than a novel from 1953.

Anonymous said...

No. "Mexican" was not a euphemism for "gay". Read the book. The Singer Not The Song is an excellent novel. It has an even better sequel, The Judas Figures, which was originally serialised in John Bull magazine. These brilliant novels by Lindop are full of local colour and living, breathing characters. Details of Jeremy Stretton is also outstanding, as is Soldiers' Daughters Never Cry, another wonderful novel by this underrated author.

Who links to my website?