Florence King

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Florence King
Born Florence Virginia King
(1936-01-05) January 5, 1936 (age 78)
Washington, D.C.
Occupation Columnist, essayist, and novelist

Florence Virginia King (born January 5, 1936, Washington, D.C.) is an American novelist, essayist and columnist.

While her early writings focused on the American South and those who live there, much of King's later work has been published in National Review. Until her retirement in 2002, her column in National Review, "The Misanthrope's Corner", was known for "serving up a smorgasbord of curmudgeonly critiques about rubes and all else bothersome to the Queen of Mean", as the magazine put it. After leaving retirement in 2006, she began writing a new column for National Review entitled "The Bent Pin."

King is a traditionalist conservative, but not a "movement conservative," and she objects to much of the populist direction of the contemporary American Right.[1][2] King labels herself a "misanthrope".[citation needed] She is an active Episcopalian (though she often refers to her agnosticism),[2] a member of Phi Alpha Theta, and a monarchist.

Early life[edit]

Born in Washington, D.C. to a British father and an American mother (Herbert Frederick King and Louise Ruding King), Florence King grew up in the District with her parents, a sister, her maternal grandmother and her grandmother's maid. Each of these people influenced her development as a person. In particular, her grandmother required high standards of behavior from Florence, referring to the family as descendants of Virginia's colonial elite. In many of her writings, King often refers to the comical contradictions between the material reality of her upbringing (lower middle class) and the snobbish behavior of her grandmother.[3]

In 1957, King received her B.A. in history from American University in Washington D.C., where she was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta. She also attended the University of Mississippi as a graduate student, but did not complete her M.A. degree after discovering she could make a living as a writer.

Career[edit]

King had several occupations before she began writing as a career. In the mid-1950s, she was a history teacher in Suitland, Maryland. Later in the decade, she was a file clerk at the National Association of Realtors. From 1964 to 1967, King was a feature writer for the Raleigh News and Observer. While at the newspaper, Miss King received the North Carolina Press Woman Award for reporting.[4]

The majority of King’s works under her own name have been non-fiction essays. She also wrote a historical romance novel, Barbarian Princess, under the pseudonym Laura Buchanan. King has also admitted to having written numerous pornographic stories, pulp paperback books and erotica under various pseudonyms. She gained national attention with her column "The Misanthrope's Corner" in National Review, a conservative magazine of political and social commentary. In addition, she wrote numerous articles for The American Enterprise magazine.

King's first book published under her own name was 1975's Southern Ladies and Gentlemen. The work provides a humorous guide to the South for "Yankees". Her most popular book, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady (1985), is a semi-autobiographical work focusing on, among other things, her grandmother's, mother's, and father's construct of "a lady."

In Confessions, King says she had relationships with both men and women during college: one woman she fell in love with was killed in a car crash. This relationship was detailed in Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady.[5] She jokingly describes herself as a "conservative lesbian feminist" and has been referred to as the "World's Funniest Bi-Sexual-Republican."[6]

King has later expressed regret at revealing her bisexuality, saying she did not want to be part of the "gay liberation movement" and embracing the concepts of "spinsterhood" and "the old maid."[7]

In 1995, King publicly accused the writer Molly Ivins of plagiarizing her work.[8] Ivins publicly acknowledged and apologized for her error in an exchange of letters in the next issue of that magazine,[9] which may be found quoted in an account of the controversy[10]

King, who now lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, retired in 2002 (at which time National Review published an anthology of her columns entitled STET, Damnit!), but resumed writing a monthly column for National Review in 2006, titled in 2007 "The Bent Pin".[11] A selection of her book reviews and articles was released under the title Deja Reviews: Florence King All Over Again in October 2006.

Works[edit]

  • Southern Ladies and Gentlemen (1975)
  • WASP, Where is Thy Sting? (1977)
  • Barbarian Princess (fiction - writing as Laura Buchanan) (1978)
  • He: An Irreverent Look at the American Male (1978)
  • When Sisterhood was in Flower (fiction) (1982)
  • Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady (1985)
  • Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye (1989)
  • Lump It or Leave It (1990)
  • With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy (1992)
  • The Florence King Reader (anthology) (1995)
  • STET, Damnit! (National Review column anthology) (2002)
  • Deja Reviews: Florence King All Over Again (selected book reviews and essays) (2006)

References[edit]

  1. ^ King, Florence (July 29, 1996), "Misanthrope's Corner", The National Review, retrieved 2008-03-02 [dead link]
  2. ^ a b King, Florence (March 9, 1998), "Misanthrope's Corner", The National Review, retrieved 2007-11-23 
  3. ^ King, Florence. Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady. New York: Stein and Day, 1985. (See chapters 1 and 2.)
  4. ^ Florence King: The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project, 2002, retrieved 2007-02-16 
  5. ^ Wittmann, Kelly, "Florence King hates eveyone, while readers love her", Pagewise, retrieved 2007-11-23 
  6. ^ Nichols, Jack (1997), Florence King: World's Funniest Bi-Sexual-Republican, retrieved 2007-02-16 
  7. ^ King, Florence (July 19, 1993), "Spinsterhood is powerful", National Review 
  8. ^ King, Florence (Sept–October 1995), "Molly Ivins, Plagiarist", The American Enterprise, archived from the original on February 4, 2007, retrieved 2007-02-16 
  9. ^ King, Florence (December 1995), "Author, Author!", The American Enterprise 
  10. ^ "A Tale of Two Copiers", "The Language Log", May 17, 2006 
  11. ^ "Florence King Is Back in Nr!", The National Review, April 4, 2006, retrieved 2007-11-23