Barbara Pym was an English novelist who passed in 1980. During her long and illustrious career, she became known for writing social comedies such as A Glass of Blessings and Excellent Women. Pym is known for her unique style which put more of a focus on characters and style than plots.

Pym worked at the International African Institute in London for seventeen years and was known as the editor of the Africa scholarly journal that they put out. Her first novel was published in 1950 and she continued to write during that time, but then took a long hiatus from 1963 to 1977. Publishers considered her style to be old-fashioned and shut her out around this time. In 1977, a historian named Lord David Cecil called her the “Most underrated writer of the 20th century” which then led to a career revival.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Some Tame Gazelle (1950)Description / Buy at
Excellent Women (1952)Description / Buy at
Jane and Prudence (1953)Description / Buy at
Less Than Angels (1955)Description / Buy at
A Glass of Blessings (1958)Description / Buy at
No Fond Return of Love (1961)Description / Buy at
Quartet in Autumn (1977)Description / Buy at
The Sweet Dove Died (1978)Description / Buy at
A Few Green Leaves (1980)Description / Buy at
An Unsuitable Attachment (1982)Description / Buy at
Crampton Hodnet (1985)Description / Buy at
An Academic Question (1986)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Civil to Strangers and Other Writings (1988)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A Very Private Eye (1984)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Anthologies

Places: An Anthology of Britain(1981)Description / Buy at

If You Like Barbara Pym Books, You’ll Love…

Less Than Angels is one of the more popular books by Barbara Pym. The book follows the romantic entanglements of Catherine Oliphant, a woman who writes for women’s magazines. She lives with Tom Mallow, an anthropologist, until the day he drops the bombshell on her: he’s leaving her for a nineteen-year-old student. Catherine finds comfort in another anthropologist, Alaric Lydgate, but ultimately struggles who who and what she really wants.

One of Pym’s best known books is Excellent Women, the classic comedy. The book sees Mildred Lathbury, a clergyman’s daughter and local spinster, living in 1950s England. She live a rather unexciting life, but she is the type of women who finds herself getting involved in the lives of other people. When she has Helena and Rockingham move in next door to her, she sees them as someone to get involved with and a couple that could help her to change her life.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of Barbara Pym Books

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