Margery Sharp

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Margery Sharp
Margery Sharp, 1945, taken by Bill Brandt
Born Clara Margery Melita Sharp
(1905-01-25)25 January 1905
Sailsbury, Wiltshire, England
Died 14 March 1991(1991-03-14) (aged 86)
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
Education Bedford College, University of London, England
Spouse Major Geoffrey Castle

Margery Sharp (25 January 1905 – 14 March 1991), was an English writer of 26 novels for adults, 14 children's novels, 4 plays, 2 mysteries, and numerous short stories. Her most famous work is The Rescuers series about a mouse named Miss Bianca, which was later adapted in two animated feature films, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under by Disney.

Life[edit]

Clara Margery Melita Sharp was born in the district of Salisbury in the county of Wiltshire, England, although her family originated from northern Yorkshire. She spent part of her childhood in Malta. In 1914 she returned to Britain and studied at Streatham High School. She read French at Bedford College, University of London. She then spent a year studying art at Westminster Art School. While studying she joined the British University Women's Debating Team and was a member of the first team to compete in the United States.[1]

The magazine Punch began publishing her stories when she was 21.[2] She went on to write for a number of American and British magazines, including Harper's Bazaar, Ladies' Home Journal and Good Housekeeping.[3] Margery Sharp's first novel, Rhododendron Pie took her a month to write and was published in 1930.[4]

In 1938 she married aeronautical engineer, Major Geoffrey Castle. During World War II she worked for three years as an Army Education Lecturer;[5] during this time she wrote the novel Cluny Brown and worked on Britannia Mews, which openly talked about the bombing of London.[6]

In 1940 her seventh novel, The Nutmeg Tree was adapted into the Broadway play, The Lady in Waiting. In 1948 the book was adapted into the Hollywood film, Julia Misbehaves, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. One of her most popular novels, Cluny Brown, the story of a plumber's niece turned parlour maid, was also made into a Hollywood film by Ernst Lubitsch in 1946. The rights for the novel Britannia Mews were bought in 1946 by 20th Century Fox, and it was made released as The Forbidden Street in 1949.

In 1959 she published The Rescuers, and though originally written for an adult audience it became hugely popular with children. Sharp continued the series with a further eight books, illustrated by Garth Williams, who had previously illustrated other children's classics like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little.[7] In 1977 Walt Disney Productions released the animated feature film The Rescuers, followed by a sequel, The Rescuers Down Under in 1990.

Sharp died in Aldeburgh, Suffolk on 14 March 1991.[8] All of her works, except for The Eye of Love, are currently out of print.

Selected works[edit]

Adult novels[edit]

  • Rhododendron Pie (1930)
  • Fanfare for Tin Trumpets (1932)
  • The Nymph and The Nobleman (1932)
  • The Flowering Thorn (1934)
  • Sophy Cassmajor (1934)
  • Four Gardens (1935)
  • The Nutmeg Tree (1937), which was made into the film, Julia Misbehaves
  • Harlequin House (1939)
  • The Stone of Chastity (1940)
  • Three Companion Pieces (1941)
  • Cluny Brown (1944), which was made into a movie of the same title
  • Britannia Mews (1946), also a film
  • The Foolish Gentlewoman (1948)
  • Lise Lillywhite (1951)
  • The Gipsy in the Parlour (1954)
  • The Eye of Love (1957)
  • Something Light (1960)
  • The Sun in Scorpio (1965)
  • In Pious Memory (1967)
  • Rosa (1969)
  • The Innocents (1972)
  • The Lost Chapel Picnic and Other Stories (1973)
  • The Faithful Servants (1975)
  • Summer Visits (1977)

Martha series[edit]

  1. The Eye of Love (1957)
  2. Martha in Paris (1962)
  3. Martha, Eric and George (1964)

Children's novels[edit]

  • Melisande (1960)
  • Lost at the Fair (1965)
  • The Magical Cockatoo (1974)
  • The Children Next Door (1974)

The Rescuers series[edit]

  1. The Rescuers (1959)
  2. Miss Bianca (1962)
  3. The Turret (1963)
  4. Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines (1966)
  5. Miss Bianca in the Orient (1970)
  6. Miss Bianca in the Antartic (1971)
  7. Miss Bianca and the Bridesmaid (1972)
  8. Bernard the Brave (1977)
  9. Bernard into Battle (1978)

Quotations[edit]

  1. "I absolutely believe it is fatal ever to write below your best, even if what you write may never be published."

References[edit]

External links[edit]