Dorothy Edwards is the first full-length biographical and literary study of this enigmatic valleys-born writer. Combining close textual analysis with comprehensive biography, this book draws on previously unpublished archival material to fill in the details of Edwards’ life, and considers her work in the light of her views and experiences. Born in the south-Wales mining valley of Ogmore Vale in 1903, Edwards was raised in a radical socialist household during a period of political debate and industrial strife. And yet despite her upbringing, readers of Edwards’ work could be forgiven for initially believing hers to be the work of a middle-class English author. The paradox between upbringing and the literary world that she chose to create is central to Dorothy Edwards. The first of the book’s four chapters focuses on Edwards’ biography; informed by new manuscript material, it outlines the period from Edwards’ birth and upbringing, to the writing of Rhapsody (1927) and Winter Sonata (1928). The second chapter constitutes a reading of the short-story collection Rhapsody in the light of gender theories, while the third section offers the first in-depth study of Edwards’ only published novel, Winter Sonata. Finally, the book returns to discuss the year leading up to her suicide on 6th January 1934, which Edwards largely spent in London living with Bloomsbury author David Garnett and his family, and the impact that this experience had on her understanding of national and class divisions. Previously unpublished letters and diary entries offer an insight into her feelings and experiences during this turbulent period.
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