06 September 2013

The Delightful Miss Thirkel

Angela Mackail Thirkell (1890-1961) is a British author I have thoroughly enjoyed over the past few years, thanks to being introduced to her "Barsetshire" series by a friend...

...she kindly loaned several to me to read and recently made a gift of them when she was culling books from her library. My plan is to buy the entire series when I can.

Thirkell has an amazing pedigree of art and literature throughout her family tree... she was first cousins with Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her mother was the daughter of Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne Jones.

Following a finishing school education in Paris, Thirkell married James Campbell McInness. Not long after the death of one of their three children, they divorced. Upon remarrying, Angela and her new husband, George Lancelot Thirkell, moved to Australia where she began writing.  Her books were published between the 1920s through the 1950s.

The quirky aspect of her series is that she set them in the fictional English county of Barsetshire, created originally by Anthony Trollope for his "Chronicles of Barsetshire".

I'm not entirely sure if an author has ever commandeered another author's fictional location, including landmarks, buildings, and references to past history. All I know is that I adore Thirkell's characters' plights and escapades and find her books thoroughly entertaining.  Her writing is somewhat satirical and she, like Jane Austen, pokes fun at certain types of people and their village schemes and melodramas.

Not coincidentally, many of the covers for her novels published by Moyer Bell are either Pre-Raphaelite or Engish Impressionist paintings.

Angela Thirkell Society 

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