Olivia Manning

(1908—1980) novelist

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


novelist. Her first novel, The Wind Changes (1937), was set in Dublin. In 1939 she married R. D. Smith, then a British Council lecturer, subsequently a BBC producer, and at the outbreak of war travelled with him to Bucharest. Her experiences there, and later in Greece, Egypt, and Jerusalem, inspired the works for which she is best remembered, The Balkan Trilogy (The Great Fortune, 1960; The Spoilt City, 1962; Friends and Heroes, 1965) and The Levant Trilogy (The Danger Tree, 1977; The Battle Lost and Won, 1978; and The Sum of Things, 1980). This sequence opens with the experiences of the newly‐married Guy and Harriet Pringle in rumour‐filled Roumania, surrounded by a crowd of vividly drawn minor characters and hangers‐on. Harriet spends much of her time trying to protect Guy and herself from Guy's impulsive generosity. As the German army advances the couple flee to Athens, and the second trilogy finds them in Egypt. Olivia Manning wrote other novels and two volumes of short stories (Growing Up, 1948; A Romantic Hero, 1966).

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.