Joan Adeney Easdale

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

Joan Adeney Easdale (23 January 1913 – 10 June 1998) was an English poet from Sevenoaks, Kent, whose father, Robert Carse Easdale, left her mother, Gladys Ellen Easdale née Adeney, during the First World War.[1][2]

The Woolfs[edit]

In January 1930, Easdale sent what Virginia Woolf called "piles of dirty copy books written in a scrawl without any spelling, but I was taken aback to find, as I thought, some real merit... it may be a kind of infantile phosphorescence.... Very odd."[3] The Woolfs nevertheless took up publishing her books, despite opposition from John Lehmann.[4]

A Collection of Poems (1931) appeared as No. 19 in the series Hogarth Living Poets.[2] It delves into love, sadness, broken relationships and family life. Hugh Walpole described her work as "astonishingly adroit, acute, accomplished".[3] The title poem of her second book, Clemence and Clare (1932), addresses Woolf herself.[1] This slim volume too appeared in the Hogarth Living Poets series, as No. 23.[2]


In July 1931 Easdale recited some of her work to an accompaniment of piano music composed and played by her brother Brian Easdale. He had studied at the Royal College of Music, written his first opera at the age of 17, and was assisted by his friend Benjamin Britten. He also introduced his sister to Naomi Mitchison. He went on to write the music for an Oscar-winning film classic, The Red Shoes (1948).[2] Easdale herself later worked in London and published in the periodical The Adelphi. She was married in 1938 to the geneticist James Meadows Rendel, who was related to the Strachey family. Her Amber Innocent (1939) was a verse narrative told in symbols. She bore a first child in 1940.[1]

After moving to Australia with her husband, she began to suffer from severe paranoia and returned, leaving her three children, aged 13, 10 and 6, behind. She lived latterly in Nottingham under an assumed name, Sophie or Sophia Curly. There she was intermittently visited by her children and grandchildren.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy: The Feminist Companion to Literature in English. Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present Day (London: Batsford, 1990), p. 324.
  2. ^ a b c d British women writers... (in German) Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Quoted from Celia Robertson, Who was Sophie? (2008) in The Guardian (Saturday 5 April 2008).
  4. ^ Edinburgh Scholarship Online Retrieved 1 May 2018.