Sylvia Townsend Warner has increasingly become recognized as a significant and distinctive talent amongst twentieth-century authors. This volume explores her remarkable relationship with Valentine Ackland - her partner for forty years - by closely examining their letters and diaries alongside a selection of their other texts, in particular their poetry. This analysis reveals the crucial role their writing played in establishing, maintaining, and defending their intimacy and describes the emergence of an alternative textual world upon which they became wholly reliant. Examining how Warner and Ackland exploited the distance between their lived life and their accounts of it, gives rise to many fascinating and untold stories. Furthermore, in investigating the fluidity of the boundaries between letters, diaries and fiction this book also provides a fresh perspective on these life-writing forms.
Warner and Ackland's need to speak as women, writers and lovers, shaped their texts, so that they became not simply records of events, nor acts of communication, but complex documents in which love is won and lost, myths are created, and lives are changed, as will be the perspectives of those who read this book.
Table of Contents
Introduction1 The Early Years
2 The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland
3 Lives in Language
4 The Diaries of Sylvia Townsend Warner
5 The Diaries of Valentine Ackland: The Silent Self
6 Valentine Ackland as Poet-priest
7. The Death of Valentine Ackland
Ailsa Granne holds a BA in literature from the Open University and an MA from King’s College London. She completed her PhD in 2015 at the Centre for Life Writing Research at King’s where she is currently a visiting Research Associate. Before becoming a student of English literature, Ailsa's career was spent working in the NHS as a pharmacist and later as a hospital general manager.