An Unsuitable Attachment (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
An Unsuitable Attachment was the seventh of Barbara Pym’s ten novels to be written but the last to be published; the discrepancy requires some explanation. Barbara Pym (the pen name of Mary Crampton) published her first novel, Some Tame Gazelle, in 1950, followed by Excellent Women (1952), Jane and Prudence (1953), Less Than Angels (1955), A Glass of Blessings (1958), and No Fond Return of Love (1961). These novels, all of which were published by Jonathan Cape, achieved modest sales, good reviews, and a very strong following at the lending libraries. In 1963, however, when Pym submitted her seventh novel to Cape, it was summarily rejected. She submitted the novel to other publishers, all of whom rejected it. She was told that her fiction was out of date in the 1960’s—this despite the success of cheap reprints of her earlier novels and a continuing demand among library borrowers.
Thus began a sixteen-year silence for Barbara Pym. In 1977, the Times Literary Supplement ran a feature in which prominent literary figures were asked to name the most overrated and underrated writers of the past seventy-five years. Among the underrated, Pym was mentioned twice; particularly persuasive in his advocacy of Pym was the poet Philip Larkin. In the same year, Macmillan published Quartet in Autumn, Pym’s first novel in sixteen years, while Cape reissued Excellent Women....
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Christian Science Monitor. July 7, 1982, p. 17.
Encounter. LVIII, April, 1982, p. 74.
Library Journal. CVII, May 15, 1982, p. 1012.
Listener. CVII, February 18, 1982, p. 24.
Ms. X, June, 1982, p. 18.
New Statesman. CIII, February 19, 1982, p. 25.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, June 20, 1982, p. 11.
The New Yorker. LVIII, May 24, 1982, p. 133.
Times Literary Supplement. February 26, 1982, p. 214.
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