5 thoughts on “Ivy, The Life Of I. Compton Burnett

  1. Ivy Compton-Burnett’s novels have interested me for some time. They are unique – almost no description, no narrative, no stage directions. They consist almost entirely of dialog. It’s up to the reader to figure out who is in the room, who has left, who has arrived, and anything else one might want to know about the scene one is reading and the people in it. Age, relationship to other characters, hopes, fears – all of it must be dug out by the reader.

    They are full of quips. Cynical, satirical, m

  2. Why would I, a charter member of the “Eradicate Ivy Compton-Burnett” Society, have and read this book? It all started as a joke.

    I saw this elephantine tome in the liberry and was inspired. The Divine Miss, the only person on planet Earth who hates the labored simplistic flatness of Icky Crumpet-Burnoose’s prose more than I, was due home for her weekendly visit. What better way to cause her pain than to cause her to see Icky’s malevolent mug on her nightstand, with a note attached: “For relief of

  3. A thoroughly workmanlike resume of the early life of ICB, and an even more thorough investigation of all her family, direct and by marriage. Maybe too much of the previous generations? And quite a lot about ICB’s brother’s friends too. Spurling’s style is the antithesis of Claire Tomalin’s – Austen, Hardy, Dickens et al – Tomalin’s work is full of ‘he would probably have’, and ‘she may have seen’ and speculations of that ilk. I don’t know which approach is better, really – this book was a little

  4. Arichly evocative literary biography. Burnett is one of those writers whose work is best enjoyed in snippets provided by others and Spurling uses those snippets brilliantly to create both the author and her surroundings. This is a particularly brilliant biography given that Compton-Burnett did not leave a lot of diaries and letters so the author pieced much of it together from interviews with C-B’s surviving contemporaries interviewed in the early 1970s.

    This biography is as rich and rewarding a

  5. A very dry snooze of a book, that although I plodded through it and reminded myself again and again why I rarely read this kind of book, did give me another look into the history and social mores of Victorian and Edwardian ideas of “particular friends”

Leave a Reply