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Mary Butts

(1890—1937) writer


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(1890–1937) Novelist and writer, born at Parkstone, Dorset, and educated locally; at St Leonard's School for Girls, St Andrews, Scotland; at Westfield College, London University; and at the London School of Economics. She contributed to the Little Review alongside T. S. Eliot, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) and Bryher (Winifred Ellerman), and in 1918 she married John Rodker (they divorced in 1926). She brought out Speed the Plough, a volume of short stories, in 1923 and her first novel, Ashe of Rings, appeared in 1925; her second, Armed with Madness, followed in 1928, the same year as her Imaginary Letters, illustrated by Jean Cocteau. In 1932 she made her home in Sennen Cove, Cornwall, and in 1934 she converted to Anglo-Catholicism. The 1930s saw her publish many books, including her third novel, Death of Felicity Taverner (1932), two volumes of short stories, Several Occasions (1932) and the posthumous Last Stories (1938), as well as a great many poems and articles and her autobiography, The Crystal Cabinet: My Childhood at Salterns (1937; repr. 1988). Her books were neglected after her death, but they began to be republished in the 1980s and her reputation continues to revive slowly but steadily. See, Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life (1998); The Journals of Mary Butts, ed. N. Blondel (2002);, Step-Daughters of England: British Women Modernists and the National Imaginary (2003).

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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