Dorothy Whipple

(92 Posts)
DuchessofMalfi Sat 23-Mar-13 14:26:23

I picked up a copy of her short stories - The Closed Door And Other Stories, from the library and started reading it yesterday. It's excellent.

I'm really enjoying literature from or set in the early part of the 20th century at the moment and this fits the bill completely.

Has anyone else read her work? Ridiculously delighted to find another author I love smile

MrsBartlet Sat 23-Mar-13 15:23:42

What a coincidence - I just finished reading my first Dorothy Whipple book last night (Someone at a Distance) and I loved it! It is one of those long books that you don't want to end as you don't want to leave the characters.

Today, I have been making a wishlist of her other books that I would like to read. I think "Greenbanks" is top of my list. I am feeling ill today with a horrible cold and have been lounging on the sofa perusing the Persephone catalogue and longing to order lots of them. They publish quite a few Dorothy Whipple but lots of other authors who would satisfy your need for early twentieth century fiction.

I too have been feeling very excited to discover another author that I love!

Lomaamina Sat 23-Mar-13 15:36:11

I've read Greenbanks, which is wonderful, and all the other Whipples published by Persephone Books. I'm slowly working my way through their catalogue, although ordering from my library at 0.60 per reservation, rather than paying the (perfectly fair, but too much with my reading habit) PB prices.

I'm not a great fan of short stories, but I'm going to see if I can get hold of that collection, so thanks OP.

MrsBartlet Sat 23-Mar-13 15:41:44

That does sound like a cheaper way of doing it Lomaamina but I really want to own them! They are quite pricey though aren't they? I am being dithery as I want to order a couple but there are so many more than that that I would like. I work in a bookshop though so I do get a discount!

Like you I am not a huge fan of short stories but I have just read "Good Evening Mrs Craven, The Wartime stories of Mollie Panter-Downes" that Persephone publish and I really enjoyed that.

Lomaamina Sat 23-Mar-13 16:21:51

I own just a few: I bought one as a treat when I visited the shop last Christmas and in other cases I've bought via the secondhand marketplace - although it's really striking to see how they hold their value; I've bought Virago editions in a few instances. But overall, the rate at which I read would make it prohibitive. I've also found that inevitably some books aren't to my taste. Those I've bought I've normally tried out first grin.

Can I also recommend Lettice Cooper and Winifred Holtby?

DuchessofMalfi Sat 23-Mar-13 18:40:02

I'm going to be working my way through Dorothy Whipple's books, and then look at the Persephone books catalogue to see what else I want to read.

I quite fancy They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple next, and see where that takes me.

Can't wait for the DC to go to bed so I can read some more smile

gailforce1 Sat 23-Mar-13 19:45:16

I have read Greenbanks and agree that it is a wonderful read. I am looking forward to getting my hands on some more of her books and also to perusing a Persephone catalogue so that I can add even more to my "To Read" list!

SkaterGrrrrl Sat 23-Mar-13 22:12:21

Love DW. Found out about her through Persephone books. She is superb.

SkaterGrrrrl Sat 23-Mar-13 22:13:28

Meant to say my favourite is They Were Sisters.

lainiekazan Mon 01-Apr-13 13:02:12

I stroke the Persephone Books catalogues. And those lovely end pieces of the books...

I enjoyed Someone at a Distance but - weren't all the characters obnoxious? The Smug Wife, the Spoilt Daughter, the Weak Husband... I couldn't help feeling rather pleased that their life was upset. I don't think that a typical man would mope and pine for the rest of his life, though. He'd find some comfort elsewhere!

lainiekazan Mon 01-Apr-13 13:07:17

I visited the PB shop last year but was hugely intimidated by the staff. They were extremely bluestockingy and haughty.

May I recommend A Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff? An unusual book and very touching.

Lomaamina Mon 01-Apr-13 14:13:06

lainiekazan I must admit I was also intimidated by the staff when I visited last year. They seemed more interested in rushing around dealing with mail orders than with serving customers. I also enquired with them more recently about a book that had had lots of publicity to ask for the publication date. I thought they'd respond to say they'd let me know when it was released, but no, just a dismissive "it's being published in March, but you can ring us in February to see if it's available". I ended up buying it from my local independent shop instead of ordering directly grin. I wasn't going to go out of my way to visit the shop (15 minutes walk away from my workplace) after that experience.

p.s. Thanks for the recommendation of 'A Fortnight in September'. It looks just up my street. I love books which celebrate the mundanity of domestic life.

DuchessofMalfi Mon 01-Apr-13 17:27:35

I'm making a note of all the recommendations on here, thank you. My copy of the Persephone catalogue arrived on Saturday and I'm already trying to decide what I want! Absolutely gorgeous catalogue, isn't it?

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 01-Apr-13 18:13:14

I haven't come across her work at all. Can anyone explain a bit more about her style? I love to find a new author - and don't mind an excuse to buy Persephone books smile

I don't receive the catalogue, will have to remedy that!

Lomaamina Mon 01-Apr-13 20:16:30

For me, it's all about the story-telling, in the simplest of terms. You know the sort of book that draws you in and you force yourself to slow down so that you don't savour every part of the story? That's what her books are like. Ostensibly about ordinary people in ordinary situations, but really, like a lot of Persephone Books, about the lot of women in the 20th century, when they were starting to become emancipated, but still bound by ties of hearth and home (for better and for worse).

There's a good item on Dorothy Whipple in the Independent, which states that 'JB Priestley once described her as "the Jane Austen of the 20th century"': www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/forgotten-authors-no-31-dorothy-whipple-1666062.html

... and an excellent piece on her by Nicola Beauman, founder of Persephone Books: www.cottontown.org/page.cfm?LANGUAGE=eng&pageID=4524.

Graceparkhill Mon 01-Apr-13 20:27:06

They Were Sisters is my DW favourite. I have read them all through Persephone and she is one of my favourite authors.

Had similar negative experience of the bookshop. Was down from Glasgow for a meeting and made a special pilgrimage to the shop.

I don't think they get many small Scottish women and they treated me with utter disdain.

highlandcoo Tue 02-Apr-13 08:48:59

I have Greenbanks in my bookcase waiting to be read - after all these good reports I must get on with it.

What a shame people have had a bad time visiting the shop .. my experience was the opposite. I wanted to buy some books for my sister's birthday; she's particularly interested in gardening and traditional crafts, and one of the staff gave me great advice about which of their titles might include these themes. I ended up buying three books, one of which was a book she'd read and loved forty years ago and had never been able to find again, so she was thrilled.

I must have got the only friendly member of staff in the place smile

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 02-Apr-13 08:49:51

Lomaamina thank you for the links and information. I'll read the articles later today after I've finished working.

One of our local bookshops sell a few Persephone books, I'll go in and see what they have.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 02-Apr-13 08:50:07

Argh!! sells, not sell

lainiekazan Tue 02-Apr-13 10:43:17

Perhaps there's a special Persephone Password or something that you have to use in the shop in order to be treated graciously. It wasn't just me being hyper-sensitive, because ds was with me and he remarked straightaway that they were very rude.

Also, if you look at the events in the catalogue, I've never read anything less welcoming! The very thought of turning up at something and being thoroughly cold-shouldered...

Graceparkhill Tue 02-Apr-13 12:34:23

Lainiekazan- maybe you and I could go to an event together ?

lainiekazan Tue 02-Apr-13 14:56:55

That would be nice! A small Scottish woman and a small southern woman... perhaps they just don't like small people?

Graceparkhill Tue 02-Apr-13 16:03:48

I think they thought I was too common. By Glasgow standards I am dead classy but I probably sounded a bit too Rab C Nesbit. Being small was a positive advantage. Shop tiny!

Ambridge Tue 02-Apr-13 16:18:46

Another Whipple fan here. 'They Knew Mr. Knight' is good too, as is 'High Wages'.

Btw, lovers of Mollie Panter-Downes: you must read 'One Fine Day'. It's a wonderful book.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 02-Apr-13 17:41:35

I've just been off to look that one up, Ambridge. Another one for my tbr list grin

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