Enid Bagnold

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Enid Bagnold 1889–1981

English dramatist, novelist, autobiographer, and poet.

Although not a major writer, Bagnold's work is considered important for the insights it gives into the lives of the British. Usually affluent and urbane, her characters are examined from both a comic and a serious point of view. Bagnold's play, The Chalk Garden, for instance, contains a portrait of a young girl's painful acceptance of truth that is alternately humorous and somber. Many of Bagnold's later works, including her Autobiography, portray the mixed pleasures of growing old.

A notable exception to Bagnold's stories of the upper class is National Velvet, a novel about a butcher's young daughter whose childhood dream comes true. Made into an inspiring movie, this book is acclaimed for its realistic depiction of family life among the British working class. National Velvet is also an indication that Bagnold's craft is not limited by her subject matter. Witty, entertaining dialogue and sharp observations of life are characteristic of most of her work.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed., Vol. 103 [obituary]; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 5; Something about the Author, Vols. 1, 25; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 13.)

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The Times Literary Supplement