Lyndall Gordon

  • Olive Schreiner: A Biography by Ruth First and Ann Scott
    Deutsch, 383 pp, £9.95, May 1980, ISBN 0 233 97152 1

It is astonishing that since Olive Schreiner died in 1920 there have been six biographies. Why should the life of a woman writing from remote farms and railway stoppings in South Africa between the 1870s and the First World War attract this attention? The new Olive Schreiner has been commissioned with the renewed interest in the feminist heroine of The Story of an African Farm (1883), and this approach to Olive Schreiner, which places her as a polemicist rather than a novelist, may be the most durable basis for her fame.

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