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Ivy Compton-Burnett was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England on June 5, 1884. She studied classics at Royal Holloway College, London University, where she graduated in 1906. After publishing her first novel, Dolores, in 1911 she went on to become a prolific writer. Her other works include Pastors and Masters, Brothers and Sisters, Men and Wives, The Mighty and Their Fall, More Women Than Men, A House and Its Head, Manservant and Maidservant, and Two Worlds and Their Ways. In 1956, she won the James-Tait Black Memorial Award for Fiction for Mother and Son. In 1967, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died on August 27, 1969. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from A House and Its Head… (més)
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Ivy Compton-Burnett was born in the town of Pinner, now a suburb of London, the seventh of 12 children of an English homeopathic doctor. She grew up in the coastal town of Hove, Sussex, and attended Addiscombe College before reading classics at the University of London. After graduating in 1906, she returned home to help her widowed mother, said to be the model for some of the domestic tyrants in Ivy's fiction. In 1911, she published her debut novel, Dolores, the tale of a dutiful daughter at home, but afterwards disowned it. Her beloved younger brother Guy had died of pneumonia at the age of 20, and then a second brother, Noel, was killed in World War I. Four of Ivy's sisters rebelled against home life after their mother's death, and ran away together to London. Her two youngest sisters, Stephanie and Catharine, committed suicide together in 1917, after which Ivy herself fell severely ill in the influenza pandemic and suffered a prolonged mental and emotional collapse. However, she recovered and successfully managed the family trust as she began to write again. At age 35, she met Margaret Jourdain, who became her lifelong companion. In 1925, at age 41, Ivy published Pastors and Masters, the first of 19 novels written in her mature manner; the last one, A God and His Gifts, appeared in 1963. Ivy developed a distinct form of novel, with a cool, dry, ironic tone, telling stories often through dialogue alone, focusing on personal relationships within stifling, middle-class Edwardian households such as the one in which she was raised. In 1955, she received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her novel Mother and Son. She was created Dame of the British Empire in 1967.
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