Barbara Pym and the Novel of Manners by Annette Weld (auth.)

By Annette Weld (auth.)

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In one corner a bed was disguised with a paisley shawl, while a Japanese screen evidently hid cooking or toilet arrangements. (MS Pym 94, fol. ' Among the discarded jumble Edith discovers a tarnished silver picture frame containing the photo of the young clergyman lost years before to Alice's affections: Oh yes, he had fallen in love with her - one could admit it after all these years - and many people said that Alice had loved him too, even though she had married somebody else. Mr Gorringe wouldn't have been considered a good marriage, although he had been so handsome, dear Arthur, people didn't look like that in these days.

At her death, faced with an expanded collection of Pym manuscripts in even more cardboard boxes, Hazel Holt and Hilary Walton offered to move 50 Barbara Pym and the Novel of Manners the whole group to the Bodleian, confident that she would have approved: 'if there was any chance of a British Library or University being interested I would gladly leave the whole lot to them, even without getting money' (AVPE, 316). Ironically perhaps, the most frequent visitors to the Department of Western Manuscripts, according to the Library staff, have been American.

The age difference between the characters, the difference in their social class, and the double rejection clearly grow from Pym's emotional involvement with Julian Amery. The single work, apart from 'The Love of a Good Woman', that most obviously owes its genesis to this one-sided relationship is the bittersweet 'Something to Remember' (MS Pym 96 fols 217-29) begun as a novel in 1940 and cited in her diary as 'for Julian' (MS Pym 106). Rewritten as a radio play and transmitted February 1, 1950, 'Something to Remember' owes much to Pym's imagined rejection by Julian Amery, but takes on the special aura of myth or fairy tale as well.

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