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26 October 1989
Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography 
by Claire Harman.
Chatto, 358 pp., £16.95, July 1989, 0 7011 2938 7
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For Sylvia: An Honest Account 
by Valentine Ackland.
Chatto, 135 pp., £6.95, July 1989, 9780701135621
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... affair which was to last for 17 years. They collected and edited Tudor church music; they visited the cathedral towns of England calling themselves Mr and Mrs Arbuthnot. But when, in 1930, she heard ValentineAckland wailing through a bedroom wall that she felt unloved, Warner bounded through the door and never again went to bed with a man. ValentineAckland was 24, with an Eton crop and a ruffled past ...

Keeping warm

Penelope Fitzgerald

30 December 1982
Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner 
Chatto, 311 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 7011 2603 5Show More
The Portrait of a Tortoise 
by Gilbert White and Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Virago, 63 pp., £3.50, October 1981, 0 86068 218 8
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Sylvia Townsend Warner: Collected Poems 
edited by Claire Harman.
Carcanet, 290 pp., £9.95, July 1982, 0 85635 339 6
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Scenes of Childhood and Other Stories 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Chatto, 177 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 0 7011 2516 0
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... STW herself wanted to do, and did, was to write (though sometimes she thought she was better at sawing and digging), to hear music, and to live in the country with the human being she loved best, ValentineAckland. The two women settled in one cottage after another, and finally at Frome Vauchurch, in Dorset. What happened to them? That was left in their letters, journals and poems for the world to ...

The Method of Drifting

Ian Patterson: John Craske

9 September 2015
Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske 
by Julia Blackburn.
Cape, 344 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 0 224 09776 5
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... short threads like this in the book: among other things, we pick up information about the Glandford Shell Museum, the Little Auk, Gilbert White, sea fishing, the Elephant Man, Edwardian Sheringham, ValentineAckland and Sylvia Townsend Warner, embroidery technique, Edward Meyerstein, Walt Disney, the Norfolk Giant, the pituitary gland, diabetes, MI5, and Einstein, who stayed at a (not very) ‘secret ...


Frank Kermode

21 July 1994
The Diaries of Sylvia Townsend Warner 
edited by Claire Harman.
Chatto, 384 pp., £25, June 1994, 0 7011 3659 6
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Sylvia and David: The Townsend Warner/Garnett Letters 
Sinclair-Stevenson, 246 pp., £20, June 1994, 1 85619 341 1Show More
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... she also seems to have been a good and sensitive friend it is fair to conclude that she was altogether a rare and admirable person. Many pages of the diaries now published are about her love for ValentineAckland, the woman with whom she lived for forty years. She had in youth a long, unimpassioned affair with an eminent married musician, whom she gave up when Ackland appeared. They had their ups and ...

Downland Maniacs

Michael Mason

5 October 1995
The Village that Died for England 
by Patrick Wright.
Cape, 420 pp., £17.99, March 1995, 0 224 03886 9
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... downland’ mania of H.J. Massingham, the neo-paganism of Llewellyn Powys (brother of John Cowper), the symbolist nostalgia of Mary Butts, the Marxist version of village life offered by lesbians ValentineAckland and Sylvia Townsend Warner, the Luddite organicism of Rolf Gardiner and the yeoman-patriotic creed of Sir Arthur Bryant (both the latter having shady pro-Nazi backgrounds). These idealists ...

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