Jessica Mann

Dear Dear Lamb

The Constant Liberal: The Life and Work of Phyllis Bottome

By

Quartet Books 296pp £25 order from our bookshop

My immediate reaction to this excellent biography of an excellent woman was surprise. Why didn’t I know more about her already? Phyllis Bottome wrote thirty-three novels and a dozen volumes of short stories and novellas, nearly all with a ‘message’ about poverty, mental illness, women’s work or, from the 1930s onwards, anti-Semitism. Her writing career spanned the first sixty years of the twentieth century. Some of her books were bestsellers. Most were published on both sides of the Atlantic and translated into most European languages; several were made into films. Yet unlike novels by many other middlebrow women writers of Bottome’s generation, hers have not yet been repopularised, possibly because even the most commendable propaganda has a limited shelf life.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,