E. M. Almedingen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

E. M. Almedingen (born Marta Aleksandrovna Almedingen, also known as Martha Edith Almedingen or von Almedingen) (1898–1971) was a British novelist, biographer and children's author of Russian origin.

On her mother's side, she was descended from the aristocratic Poltoratsky family; her maternal grandfather was Serge Poltoratzky, the literary scholar and bibliophile who ended his days in exile, shuttling between France and England. His second wife Ellen Sarah Southee, 16 years his junior, and the daughter of an English gentleman farmer, grew up in Kent. She was related to poet Robert Southey. Their children had English governesses and grew up speaking English. His daughter Olga, the novelist's mother, grew up in Kent but was fascinated by her father's native Russia and in the early 1880s moved there, marrying Alexander Almedingen (of a family that had moved "from Spain... to Saxony, from Saxony to Austria, from Austria to Russia"[1]), who had turned his back on his family's military traditions to become a scientist.

After her father abandoned his family in 1900, they lived in increasingly impoverished circumstances, well described in her memoir Tomorrow Will Come, but the author was able to attend the Xenia Institute and eke out a living in the increasingly desperate times of revolution and civil war. She received the highest honors in history and literature at Xenia and then attended Petrograd University between 1916 and 1920, when she earned her doctorate there.[2]

In 1923 emigrated to England, where she became a well-known children's author.[3] In 1941 she won the $5,000 Atlantic Monthly nonfiction prize for Tomorrow Will Come. Five years later she moved to Frogmore, a house near Upton Magna in Shropshire, where she remained until her death.

In the "about the author" blurb from The Knights of the Golden Table (1963): "E.M. Almedingen lives in a charming seventeenth-century cottage in Britain's West Country, where she writes, gardens (tulips are her special forte) and enjoys classical music. Born and privately educated in St. Petersburg (now Leningrad), Russian, she arrived in London in 1923 with sixpence in her pocket and has been supporting herself with her writing ever since. Now a British citizen, Miss Almedingen has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has lectured at Oxford, and is a noted scholar and writer. Many of her books have appeared in the United States: Young Catherine, Tomorrow Will Come, Catherine the Great, Frossia, Winter in the Heart, and Dasha, to name but a few. Her chief enthusiasm is for medieval history, and to her retelling of the Knights of the Golden Table she brings both love and scholarship."


  • Young Catherine (1937)
  • The Lion of the North (1938)
  • She Married Pushkin (1939)
  • Tomorrow Will Come (1941)
  • Frossia (1943)
  • Fair Haven (1956)
  • Little Stairway (1960)
  • Catherine the Great: a portrait (1963)
  • An Unbroken Unity (1964)
  • The Unnamed Stream and Other Poems (1965)
  • "The Ladies of St. Hedwig's" (1965)
  • The Treasure of Siegfried (1965)
  • Little Katia (1966)
  • Young Mark (1967)
  • Charlemagne: a study (1968)
  • Retreat from Moscow (1968)
  • Candle at Dusk (1969)
  • My St. Petersburg: A Reminiscence of Childhood (1970)


  1. ^ E. M. Almedingen, Tomorrow Will Come (Holt Rinehart Winston, 1968), p. 19.
  2. ^ DePiero, Deborah Lucia (2007). "E.M. Almedingen". Guide to the Literary Masters & Their Works. Retrieved 30 December 2015 – via EBSCOhost. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Fryatt, Norma R. (1995). "Almedingen, E.M.". In Berger, Laura Standley. Twentieth Century Children's Writers (4th ed.). Detroit: St. James Press. pp. 22–24. ISBN 9781558621770.