Noel Streatfeild The Times Literary Supplement - Essay

The Times Literary Supplement

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Beyond the Vicarage is the last volume of Noel Streatfeild's autobiographical trilogy. It is also probably the most significant, since it deals with her life as a writer….

Miss Streatfeild is a person to be respected. She is remarkably clear-sighted about her own shortcomings; she considers herself and her friends to have been in their youth trivial and irresponsible compared with the young people of today. She knows she is a product of her class and generations, the last generation to have maids and to be waited on. She knows too that she does not write particularly well, in the academic sense; there are sentences in this book so clumsily put together that they have to be read two or three times to get the sense. She is realistic, too, about her strong points, such as, in the literary sphere, her ear for dialogue, which she puts down to her acting experience. There are countless examples of this authentic gift in Beyond the Vicarage…. Her books will continue to give pleasure, especially (though she may not thank one for saying so) her books for children.

"Amusement and After," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1971; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 3633, October 15, 1971, p. 1252.