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Barbara Pym Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

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

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A Very Private Eye (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Barbara Pym was a reputed author from the United Kingdom, who was fond of writing books on the humor, women’s fiction, social comedies, and literature & fiction genres. She was quite well known for her books, A Glass of Blessings and Excellent Women. Author Pym was born as Barbara Mary Crompton Pym on June 02, 1913, in Oswestry, Shropshire, UK. Her fame in the field of writing was on the highest level during the 1950s, when she used to write humorous stories on social elements. Then, several years went by with moderate successes. Later in 1977, Pym saw a revival in her career when critics Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil gave her the nomination of being the most underrated author of the 20th century. Author Pym’s book, Quarted in Autumn, had received a Booker Prize nomination in 1977. In the same year, Pym was chosen to be a Royal Literature Society’s Fellow member. During the first few years of her life, author Pym received private education at the Queen Park School. This was an all-girls school located in Oswestry. At the age of 12, she joined the Huyton College, located near Liverpool. This was followed by her graduation in English Literature from the St. Hilda’s College in Oxford. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Pym was selected to serve in the Royal Navy for Women for a short duration of time. After retiring from the service, author Pym moved to London and began working at the African Institute. She remained there and worked for a total of 17 years. Pym was assigned the post of the assistant editor and was given the charge of a scholarly journal named Africa. Inspired by this, author Pym began using anthropologists as main characters in her stories. And similar to an anthropologist, she too adopted the habit of observing the lives of mankind. For several years Pym kept on submitting her stories to various women’s magazines. Finally, she was able to publish her first book in 1950.

This gave a huge boost to her and she went on to publish 11 novels altogether. Two of her novels were released posthumously. The literary career of author Pym is noteworthy for the 1963 to 1977 long hiatus. In spite of succeeding initially and gaining popularity continually, Pym’s manuscripts were rejected by her regular publisher, Jonathan Cape, from 1961 onwards. The company labeled her writing as being old fashioned and thus used it as the reasons for the rejections. Pym’s attempts in approaching other publishers didn’t turn out in her favor either. Then the turning point came in her life and career in the year 1977 in which two notable critics praised all her works and her efforts. Author Pym remained unmarried all her life. However, she did indulge in close relationships with a few men. Among her well known lovers were Henry Harvey, a fellow student from Oxford, and Julian Amery, who became a famous politician later. Pym was also involved in romantic relationships with Richard Roberts, an antiques dealer, and Gordon Glover, a producer in the BBC. Following her retirement, author Pym shifted to Barn Cottage along with her sister named Hilary. Her death occurred on January 11, 1980, at the age of 66. Some of her unfinished works were taken up by Hilary after her unfortunate death for completion. Hilary even helped to set up the Society for Barbara Pym in 1993. Hilary and Barbara played important roles in uplifting the social life in the village. In 2013, the BBC broadcast an episode of the show in which author Pym had given her appearance. Pym always maintained that she was very much inspired by the authors Jane Austen and Aldous Huxley.

A very popular book written by author Barbara Pym is entitled ‘Excellent Women’. This book was released by the Penguin Classics publication in the year 2006, many years after its original release in 1952. This book features the chief characters in the form of Mildred Lathbury, Helena Napier, Julian Malory, and Rocky Napier. At the start of the book’s story, it is shown that Mildren Lathbury was the daughter of a clergyman living in England in the 1950s. She is a mild mannered and carries out spinster work. Mildred Lathbury is included in the list of “excellent women”, the ones who are supportive, smart, and repressed, and are always taken for granted by men. As the story proceeds further, Mildred Lathbury is seen getting embroiled in her neighbors’ lives. Among her new neighbors are the Napiers and a vicar named Julian Malory. Helena Napier is an anthropologist and has a dashing and handsome husband named Rocky Napier. Julian Malory lives in the next door of Mildren Lathbury. The next few plots give glimpses of the different phases of the human life. Pym has shown how lives are actually and pluckily lived in the world of repressed desired and vanishing manners. Pym seems to have penned the book with some great real life experiences as her story looks so real. The readers became amazed after reading this high comedy story and could not stop praising author Pym for her excellent work.

Another widely popular novel of author Pym is called ‘Some Tame Gazelle’. It was published in 1999 by the Moyer Bell publishing, following its first publication in 1950. The lead characters depicted in this book include Harriet Bede, Belinda Bede, Bishop Grote, Mr. Mold, and several others as well. At the beginning of the story of the book, it is depicted that Belinda Bede and Harriet Bede are sisters living together in their settled, comfortable existence. They are in their fifties and seem to be living happy, peaceful life. Belinda looks to be a more quite person. She has been secretly loving the pompous archdeacon of the town, despite knowing the fact that he married. The archdeacon’s odd sermons are known to leave their flock members in a muddled confusion. Harriet Bede is shown as an extrovert and bubbly lady. She keeps fending off marriage proposals repeatedly. When Mr. & Bishop Grote arrive in their village, the overall peace gets disturbed. Even the sisters are left wondering whether they will be able to return to the daily routine order ever. This book too was very much appreciated by the readers and critics alike. It was the first one that helped author Pym establish herself as a noteworthy author. Later on, other books also followed and helped to strengthen her cause. After this book’s wide success, Pym received a great motivation for continuing with the writing career. She came up with many more interesting stories in the next few years and kept on entertaining her fans until her retirement.

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