Bainbridge passing

12 December 2010 at 20:29 Leave a comment

the ever-quotable Beryl Bainbridge:

I have never really written ficiton; what would be the point? What is more peculiar, more riveting, devious and horrific than real life?”

I found this in her obituary.  She died in July.

What is interesting is the two linked articles tell very different versions of almost every aspect of her story.  Here are a couple nice examples:

Watts’s obituary: “…Beryl was ordered from her class to her headteacher’s office. Her mother had found a smutty rhyme in her daughter’s gymslip pocket, illustrated by Beryl. Without a word to her daughter, she had taken it to the head, who expelled Beryl three weeks later as a corrupting moral influence. She was 14.”

Kellaway’s article: “She went to Merchant Taylor’s school but was expelled at 14 after a rude rhyme was discovered about her person.”

Watts: “If the marriage had worked, she would never have written books, she mused later. But they divorced in 1959 after she found that Austin was having an affair and threw him out. She later regretted this and said he was the love of her life. He did not disappear from it, moving the family to London in the early 1960s and buying a house in Albert Street in Camden Town, north London, where he occupied the basement and paid Beryl £7 rent a week.”

Kellaway: “She married at 20. Her first husband, the painter Austin Davies, was, she has since said, the love of her life. He left in 1958 when their son was two and daughter six weeks old. It took her years to recover from this. Bainbridge has said that she believes men and women feel differently, men being more inclined to part-time love.”

Really strikingly and dramatically different versions.  No wonder everyone liked her.  She was ever so useful.


Entry filed under: writing.

Had to happen sometime A nice little notion

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What I’ve been reading:

  • James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. (London, 14 King William Street, Strand: William P. Nimmo, 1876). 4 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 3, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985). 4 years ago
  • Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). 4 years ago
  • Stephanie Kallos, Broken for You (New York: Grove Press, 2004). 5 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 2, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985) 5 years ago

T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



2003-2013 T. Anderson Painter
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