Olivia Manning: A Woman at War

Paperback | January 21, 2016

byDeirdre David

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Olivia Manning: A Woman at War is the first literary biography of the twentieth-century novelist Olivia Manning. It tells the story of a writer whose life and work were shaped by her own fierce ambition, and, like many of her generation, the events and aftermath of the Second World War. Fromthe time she left Portsmouth for London in the mid-1930s determined to become a famous writer, through her wartime years in the Balkans and the Middle East, and until her death in London in 1980, Olivia Manning was a dedicated and hard-working author. Married to a British Council lecturer stationedin Bucharest, Olivia Manning arrived in Romania on the 3rd September 1939, the fateful day when Allied forces declared war on Germany. For the duration of World War Two, she kept one step ahead of invading German forces as she and her husband fled Romania for Greece, and then Greece for the MiddleEast, where they stayed until the end of the war. These tumultuous wartime years are the subject of her best-known and most transparently autobiographical novels, The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy.Olivia Manning refused to be labelled a "feminist," but her novels depict with cutting insight and sardonic wit the marginal position of women striving for independent identity in arenas frequently controlled by men, whether on the frontlines of war or in the publishing world of the 1950s. However,she did not just write about World War Two and women's lives. Amongst other things, Manning published fiction about making do in Britain's post-war Age of Austerity, about desecration of the environment through uncontrolled development, and about the painful adjustment to post-war British life foryoung men. As the author of thirteen published novels, two volumes of short stories, several works of non-fiction, and a regular reviewer of contemporary fiction, she was a visible presence on the British literary scene throughout her life and her work provides a detailed insight into the period.Grounded in thorough research and enriched by discussion of previously unexamined manuscripts and letters, Olivia Manning: A Woman at War is a timely study of Olivia Manning's remarkable life. Deirdre David integrates incisive critical analysis of Manning's writing with extensive discussion of thehistorical contexts of her fiction.

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Olivia Manning: A Woman at War is the first literary biography of the twentieth-century novelist Olivia Manning. It tells the story of a writer whose life and work were shaped by her own fierce ambition, and, like many of her generation, the events and aftermath of the Second World War. Fromthe time she left Portsmouth for London in th...

Deirdre David is Professor Emerita of English at Temple University. Throughout her long career she has taught courses in Victorian literature, the history of the British novel, and women's writing. She has published books dealing with social problems in the Victorian novel (Fictions of Resolution in Three Victorian Novels, 1981), the c...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:January 21, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198728581

ISBN - 13:9780198728580

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Table of Contents

Introduction: 'Never a Day Without a Line''Laburnum Grove''The Most Terrifying City in the World''Bucharest''Escaping the Barbarians''The Dark Side of the World''Going Home''Writing in Austerity''The "Booksey Boys" and the Woman Writer''Watching History''A Strange Decade''A Deteriorating World''The Battle Won''The Stray Survivor'

Editorial Reviews

"Deirdre David's study of this frequently tormented novelist is a book that needed to be written." --Paul Bailey, Literary Review 11/03/2013