Elizabeth Taylor (novelist)

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Elizabeth Taylor (née Coles; 3 July 1912 in Reading, Berkshire - 19 November 1975 in Penn, Buckinghamshire) was a popular English novelist and short story writer.


Life and writings

The daughter of Oliver Coles, an insurance inspector, and his wife, Elsie May Fewtrell, Elizabeth Coles was educated at The Abbey School in Reading and then worked as a governess, tutor, and librarian. She married John Michael Taylor, owner of a confectionery company, in 1936. They lived in Penn, Buckinghamshire, for almost all their married life. She was briefly a member of the Communist Party, then a lifelong Labour Party supporter.

Taylor's first novel, At Mrs. Lippincote's, was published in 1945 and was followed by eleven more. Her short stories were published in magazines and collected in four volumes. She also wrote a children's book.

Taylor's work is mainly concerned with the nuances of everyday life and situations, which she writes about with dexterity. Her shrewd but affectionate portrayals of middle class and upper middle class English life won her an audience of discriminating readers, as well as loyal friends in the world of letters.

She was a friend of the novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett and of the novelist and critic Robert Liddell. Anne Tyler once compared Taylor to Jane Austen, Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Bowen -- "soul sisters all," in Tyler's words. In recent years new interest has been kindled by movie makers in her work. Elizabeth Taylor was also a close friend of Elizabeth Jane Howard, who was asked by Elizabeth Taylor's widower to write a biography following Elizabeth Taylor's death. Elizabeth Jane Howard refused due to what she felt was a lack of incident in Elizabeth Taylor's life. See Slipstream, Elizabeth Jane Howard's memoir, for more details on their friendship. Taylor's editor at the UK publisher Chatto & Windus was the poet D. J. Enright.

French director François Ozon made a 2007 film of The Real Life of Angel Deverell entitled Angel, with Romola Garai. US director Dan Ireland made a screen adaptation of Taylor's Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005), with Joan Plowright in the title role.[1]

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