Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Elizabeth Taylor is best known for her “genteel novels” of social comedy. However, because critics have viewed them as relatively lightweight entertainments, they are often more appreciated by general readers than by university scholars. Critics have noted that much of her longer fiction focuses on how people become victims of their own self-delusion. Her career as a novelist extends from the postwar At Mrs. Lippincote’s (1945) to the posthumously published Blaming (1976).


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Elizabeth Taylor’s fiction was reissued in paperback in the 1980’s, reaching a wider audience; her stories have been praised by critics, but her novels have been more popular with general readers. Her 1957 novel Angel was selected by the Books Marketing Council in 1984 as one of the “Best Novels of Our Time.”


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Baldwin, Dean. “The English Short Story in the Fifties.” In The English Short Story 1945-1980, edited by Dennis Vannata. New York: Twayne, 1985. 34-74. Argues that “shaming nature,” which is what the Matron does at the beginning of the story, is a good description of the theme of “A Red-Letter Day,” for Tory is unable to connect with her son; she is the prototype of the modern parent—alienated, awkward, divorced—unable to say where she has failed.

Gillette, Jane Brown. “’Oh, What a Something Web We Weave’: The Novels of Elizabeth Taylor.” Twentieth Century Literature 35 (Spring, 1989): 94-112. Discusses Taylor’s fiction in three stages: the early period, in which she is critical of the distortion of the imagination; the middle period, in which she moderates her criticism; and the later years, when she celebrates the creative imagination. Argues that Taylor struggles with two major paradoxes: the novelist’s use of fiction to depict the real and the novelist’s condemnation of egotistical isolation.

Grove, Robin. “From the Island: Elizabeth Taylor’s Novels.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 9 (1978): 79-95. Discusses the critical neglect of Taylor’s work. Argues that her books claim that watching the mind’s ironies and reflections on itself is a natural and nourishing activity. Says that she is...

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