Life and career
She was born in Rochester, Kent, the daughter of an American clergyman, Rev. William MacDonald Bottome and an Englishwoman, Mary (Leatham) Bottome. In 1917, in Paris, she married Alban Ernan Forbes Dennis, a British diplomat working firstly in Marseilles and then in Vienna as Passport Control Officer, a cover for his real role as MI6 Head of Station with responsibility for Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Forbes Dennis died in July 1972 in Brighton.
In 1924 she and her husband started a school in Kitzbühel in Austria. Based on the teaching of languages, the school was intended to be a community, and an educational laboratory to determine how psychology and educational theory could cure the ills of nations. One of their more famous pupils was Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels. In 1960, Fleming wrote to Bottome, "My life with you both is one of my most cherished memories, and heaven knows where I should be today without Ernan."
In 1935, her novel Private Worlds was made into a film. Set in a psychiatric clinic, Bottome's knowledge of Individual psychology proved useful in creating a realistic scene. Bottome saw her share of trouble with Danger Signal which the Hays Office forbade from becoming a Hollywood film. Germany became Bottome's home in the late 1930s, and it inspired her to pen The Mortal Storm, a film which was the first to mention Hitler's name and be set in Nazi Germany. Bottome was an active anti-fascist.
In total, four of her works – Private Worlds, The Mortal Storm, Danger Signal, The Heart of a Child – were adapted to film. In addition to fiction she is also known as an Adlerian who wrote a biography of Alfred Adler.
Bottome died in London.
There is a large collection of her literary papers and correspondence in the British Library (Add MSS 78832-78903).
She wrote her first novel when she was just seventeen.
- Alfred Adler – Apostle of Freedom. London 1939, Faber & Faber, 3rd Ed. 1957
- The Dark Tower, 1916
- Kingfisher, 1922
- The Perfect Wife, 1924
- Life of Olive Schreiner, 1924
- Old Wine, 1926
- The Belated Reckoning, 1926
- The Messenger of the Gods — The Story of a Girl of Today, 1927, George H. Doran Company
- Strange Fruit: Stories, 1928
- Windlestraws, 1929
- The Advances of Harriet, 1933
- Private Worlds, 1934
- Murder in the Bud
- Level Crossing, 1936
- The Mortal Storm, oct 1937
- Danger Signal, 1939
- Masks and Faces, 1940
- Formidable to Tyrants, 1941
- London Pride, 1941
- Mansion House of Liberty, 1941
- The Heart of a Child, 1942
- Within a Cup, 1943
- Survival, 1943
- From the Life, 1944, London, Faber & Faber. Six studies of the author's friends Alfred Adler, Max Beerbohm, Ivor Novello, Sara Delano Roosevelt, Ezra Pound, Margaret MacDonald Bottome.
- The Lifeline, 1946
- Innocence and Experience, 1947
- Search for a Soul, 1947
- Fortune's Finger, 1950
- Under the Skin – Love Drew no Color Line when a White Woman entered a Negro's World, 1950
- The Challenge, 1953
- The Secret Stair, 1954
- Against Whom? 1954. By chance a patient is brought to a Sanatorium on the verge of death, how he not only recovers but manages to influence the lives of the scientists who have observed him is the subject of this novel. In the course of the book the principal characters find that they must either think of others and put that thought into practise or those same 'others' will become their enemy, and destroy, one by one, his most intimate relationships.
- Eldorado Jane, 1956
- Walls of Glass, 1958
- The Goal, 1962 – her autobiography
- Our New Order or Hitler's? A Selection of Speeches by Winston Churchill, Archbishop of Canterbury, Anthony Eden & Others, ed. by Ph. Bottome, Penguin Books Middlesex 1943
- G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 18.
- Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, edited by Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft, New York, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1942.
- Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett, Phoenix, 1996.
- Dumont, Herve. Frank Borzage. London: McFarland & Company, 2006.
- The Life of Ian Fleming John Pearson, Jonathan Cape, 1966.
- Angela Ingram and Daphne Patai, (eds.) Rediscovering Forgotten Radicals: British Women Writers, 1889-1939. University of North Carolina Press, 2009 ISBN 0807844144 (p.19-20)
- Phyllis Bottome at the Internet Movie Database
- Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing
- Pam Hirsch: The Constant Liberal - The life and work of Phyllis Bottome, Quartet Books 2010, ISBN 978-0-7043-7160-6
- Woman out of time an essay on Phyllis Bottome by Andrea Crawford
- The Times: Phyllis Bottome, protest novelist
- Orlando, Cambridge: Women’s Writing in the British Isles