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E. Arnot Robertson

(1903—1961) novelist and film critic


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(1903–61), British novelist, broadcaster, lecturer, and film critic, born in Surrey. A popular novelist of the 1920s and 1930s, her first novel, Callum (1928), was a study of obsessive love. Her concern for the effects of ‘civilization’ on the free spirit of childhood is expressed in her second novel, Three Came Unarmed (1929). Her finest and most enduring work is Ordinary Families (1933), a classic portrayal of British family life, sibling rivalry, and the complexities and betrayals that lie below the surface of a healthy boating family. She published nine novels in all, including Four Frightened People (1931), in which one woman and two men are stranded together in the Malayan jungle, and Devices and Desires (1954), in which she drew upon her experiences of Greece during the Greek Civil War. She was married to H. E. Turner, general secretary of the Empire and Commonwealth Press Unions, whose death in a boating accident in 1960 precipitated her suicide the following year.

From The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).



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