Elizabeth Jane Howard

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Elizabeth Jane Howard
Born(1923-03-26)26 March 1923
London, England, UK
Died2 January 2014(2014-01-02) (aged 90)
Bungay, Suffolk, England, UK
OccupationWriter
NationalityBritish
GenreFiction, non-fiction
Spouse
Peter Scott
(m. 1942; div. 1951)

James Douglas-Henry (m. 1958–?)
Kingsley Amis
(m. 1965; div. 1983)
Children1

Elizabeth Jane Howard, CBE, FRSL (26 March 1923 – 2 January 2014), was an English novelist, author of 12 novels including the best-selling series The Cazalet Chronicles.[1]

Career[edit]

Howard worked briefly as an actress in provincial repertory and occasionally as a model before her writing career, which began in 1947.

Howard's first novel, The Beautiful Visit (1950), described as "distinctive, self- assured and remarkably sensual", won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1951 for best novel by a writer under 30.[2] She next collaborated with Robert Aickman, writing three of the six short stories in the collection We Are for the Dark (1951).

Her second novel, The Long View (1956), describes a marriage in reverse chronology; Angela Lambert remarked, "Why The Long View isn't recognised as one of the great novels of the 20th century I will never know."[2] Five further novels followed before she embarked on her best known work, the Cazalet Chronicles, at the suggestion of her stepson Martin Amis.[3]

The Chronicles were a family saga "about the ways in which English life changed during the war years, particularly for women." They follow three generations of a middle-class English family and draw heavily on Howard's own life and memories.[3] The first four volumes, The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, and Casting Off, were published from 1990 to 1995. The fifth, All Change, was written in just a year and published in 2013; it was her final novel. Millions of copies of the Cazalet Chronicles were sold world-wide.[1]

The Light Years and Marking Time were serialised by Cinema Verity for BBC Television as The Cazalets in 2001. A BBC Radio 4 version in 45 episodes was also broadcast from 2012.[3]

Howard wrote the screenplay for the 1989 movie Getting It Right, directed by Randal Kleiser, based on her 1982 novel of the same name,[4] as well as TV scripts for Upstairs, Downstairs.[1]

She also wrote a book of short stories, Mr. Wrong (1975), and edited two anthologies, including The Lover's Companion (1978).[1]

Personal life[edit]

Howard's parents were David Liddon Howard (1896–1958), a timber merchant, and Katharine Margaret ('Kit') Somervell (1895–1975), a dancer with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and daughter of the composer Sir Arthur Somervell.[5][6] One of her brothers, Colin, lived with her and her third husband, Sir Kingsley Amis, for 17 years.[7] She was educated at Francis Holland School and studied domestic science and drama at Ebury Street, London.[6]

Howard married Peter Scott in 1942, at age 19, and they had a daughter, Nicola (born 1943). Howard left Scott in 1946 to become a writer, and they were divorced in 1951. At this time she was employed as part-time secretary to the pioneering canals conservation organisation the Inland Waterways Association, where she met and collaborated with Robert Aickman. She had an affair with Aickman, described in her autobiography Slipstream (2002).

Her second marriage, to Australian broadcaster James Douglas-Henry in 1958, was brief.[6] Her third marriage, to novelist Sir Kingsley Amis, whom she met while organising the Cheltenham Literary Festival,[3] lasted from 1965 to 1983; for part of that time, 1968–1976, they lived at Lemmons, a Georgian house in Barnet, where Howard wrote Something in Disguise (1969).[8] Her stepson, Martin Amis, has credited her with encouraging him to become a more serious reader and writer.[9]

Howard also had romantic liaisons with Laurie Lee, Kenneth Tynan, Arthur Koestler, Cecil Day-Lewis, Nancy Spain and others.

In later life, she lived in Bungay, Suffolk, and was appointed CBE in 2000. She died at home on 2 January 2014, aged 90.[1]

Works[edit]

  • The Beautiful Visit. Jonathan Cape. 1950. ISBN 0-224-60977-7. Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
  • We Are for the Dark: Six Ghost Stories. Jonathan Cape. 1951. (a collection containing three stories by Howard and three by Robert Aickman)
  • The Long View. Jonathan Cape. 1956. ISBN 0-224-60318-3.
  • The Sea Change. Jonathan Cape. 1959. ISBN 0-224-60319-1.
  • After Julius. Jonathan Cape. 1965. ISBN 0-224-61037-6.
  • Something in Disguise. Jonathan Cape. 1969. ISBN 0-224-61744-3.
  • Odd Girl Out. Jonathan Cape. 1972. ISBN 0-224-00661-4.
  • Mr. Wrong. Jonathan Cape. 1975.
  • Getting It Right. Hamish Hamilton. 1982. ISBN 0-241-10805-5.
  • The Light Years. Macmillan Publishers. 1990. ISBN 0-333-53875-7.
  • Marking Time. Macmillan. 1991. ISBN 0-333-56596-7.
  • Confusion. Macmillan. 1993. ISBN 0-333-57582-2.
  • Casting Off. Macmillan. 1995. ISBN 0-333-60757-0.
  • Falling. Macmillan. 1999. ISBN 0-333-73020-8.
  • Slipstream. Macmillan. 2002. ISBN 0-333-90349-8.
  • Three Miles Up and Other Strange Stories. ISBN 1-872621-75-9. (contains the three stories included in We Are for the Dark, plus Mr Wrong)
  • Love All. Macmillan. 2008. ISBN 1-4050-4161-7.
  • All Change. Macmillan. 2013. ISBN 0230743072.[10]

Autobiography and biographies[edit]

Howard's autobiography, Slipstream, was published in 2002.[11] A biography, entitled Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence by Artemis Cooper, was published by John Murray in 2017. A reviewer said it was "strongest in the case it makes for the virtues of Howard's fiction".[12]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e "Novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard dies". BBC.co.uk. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Andrew (9 November 2002). "Profile: Elizabeth Jane Howard". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  3. ^ a b c d Wilson, Frances (30 December 2012). "Elizabeth Jane Howard: interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  4. ^ "IMDb profile of Getting It Right (film)".
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Jane Howard - obituary". The Telegraph. 2 January 2014. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  6. ^ a b c Beauman, Nicola (3 January 2014). "Elizabeth Jane Howard: Writer". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  7. ^ Cockcroft, Lucy (9 October 2007). "Family defends 'racist' Sir Kingsley Amis". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  8. ^ Leader, Zachary. The Life of Kingsley Amis, Jonathan Cape, 2006, p. 633.
  9. ^ Cooper, Jonathan (23 April 1990). "Novelist Martin Amis Carries on a Family Tradition: Scathing Wit and Supreme Self-Confidence". People. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  10. ^ Clark, Alex (14 November 2013). "Review: All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Anthony Thwaite (9 November 2002). "When will Miss Howard take off all her clothes?". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  12. ^ Adams, Matthew (3–4 June 2017). "Talent and torment". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2017.

Further reading

External links[edit]