Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Some notes

I have a wrap-up post planned for tomorrow with links to all your brilliant reviews. Today, a few bits and pieces for you.

Beryl Writers & their workFirst, I wanted to mention Huw Marsh’s 2014 book on Beryl in the Writers and their Work series from Northcote House publishers. Marsh is a professor at Queen Mary college, and this is the only easily available book of criticism that I’ve found on her work. Published after her death it covers all of her novels. It only came yesterday though, so I have only read the intro and first chapter on her early novels.

I did like the way he groups the novels though:

  • Early Noir
  • Comedy & Society
  • History, time and intertextuality
  • History and mythology
    with The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress as a coda.

I was particularly interested to find out in particular about her two revised novels which I read and reviewed this week.

A Weekend with Claude only had one thing added to it! An ‘e’. It was originally Claud. Similarly, Another Part of the Wood didn’t have any additions; both were extensively edited though for republication.

Speaking of Another Part of the Wood – the title comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream where is is a stage direction. Marsh says,

“the scene that unfolds in the woods is decidedly un-magical, even anti-bucolic. Repeated references to King Lear underscore a sense of impending disaster…”

I didn’t pick up on the Lear references on a first read!

Beryl BiogIn September, the first full biography of Beryl is due to be published. Beryl Bainbridge: Love by All Sorts of Means by Brendan King will be published on the 9th by Bloomsbury. It had thought this was meant to be published last year, but it never appeared then and I think it has moved publishers.

That said, I can’t wait to read that, for her life was so interesting.


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