Life and career
Viola Garvin was born at Benwell, the eldest daughter of J. L. Garvin, later the long-time editor of The Observer; her older brother Gerard was killed in the First World War. She was named for Francis Thompson's "The Making of Viola" and for Viola Meynell, the subject of the poem. She was educated at South Hampstead High School and at Somerville College, Oxford, and then became assistant literary editor at The Observer in 1926; she later became literary editor, but was let go when her father's contract was not renewed in 1942. She also worked as a translator from the French: for example in 1930 of Jacques Chardonne's Eva and after leaving The Observer, of Romain Gary's Forest of Anger (1944), Rémy's The Messenger (1954) and Constantin de Grunwald's Peter the Great (1956).
In the 1920s and 1930s, she repeatedly went into debt. In the early 1930s she was in a relationship with Humbert Wolfe, a poet who also reviewed for The Observer, but he was married. She died in January 1969.
Garvin published three books: As You See It (1922), Corn in Egypt (1926) and Dedication (1928).
- According to Katharine Garvin, J. L. Garvin: A Memoir, London: Heinemann, 1948, OCLC 186300723, p. 60, of J. L. Garvin's second, third, and fourth children, two were born on 1 January and one on 2 January; she herself, the fourth, was born on 1 January (p. 44) and her older sister Una on 2 January (p. 41); therefore Viola, the second child, must be the other who was born on 1 January.
- Katharine Garvin, p. 36.
- David Ayerst, Garvin of the Observer, London / Sydney: Croom Helm, 1985, ISBN 9780709905608, p. 26.
- Katharine Garvin, p. 71.
- Constance Savery, Work Diary. 2nd-4th February 1969. Manuscript collection, Knight Library, University of Oregon. Savery remembered Garvin's "dark haunting eyes" and recalled that "she shone like a planet at Somerville. No glitter, just 'the soft journey that a planet goes'".
- Giles Brindley, Oxford: Crime, Death and Debauchery, Stroud: Sutton, 2006, ISBN 9780750938204, n. p..
- Katharine Garvin, pp. 58, 62.
- Ayerst, pp. 219, 280.
- "Briefs", The Bookseller, 30 June 1979, p. 2946.
- Jeremy Lewis, David Astor: A Life in Print, London: Jonathan Cape, ISBN 9780224090902, p. 123.
- Stephen E. Koss, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain, Volume 2 The Twentieth Century, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1984, ISBN 9780241105610, p. 612.
- Carlos Peacock, Painters and Writers: An Anthology, London: Tate Gallery, 1949, OCLC 869923636, p. 18.
- David Bellos, Romain Gary: A Tall Story, London: Harvill Secker, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84343-170-1, p. 102.
- Publishers Weekly 166.14 (1954) p. 2361.
- C. Bickford O'Brien, "Review: Peter the Great by Constantin de Grunwald, Viola Garvin", The American Slavic and East European Review 16.1 (February 1957), 91–92, doi:10.2307/3001346.
- Ayerst, pp. 232–34.
- Jane Dowson and Alice Entwistle, A History of Twentieth-Century British Women's Poetry, Cambridge / New York: Cambridge University, 2005, ISBN 9780521819466, p. 318.
- M. J. Elliott, "Introduction", R. E. Howard, The Right Hand of Doom and Other Tales of Solomon Kane, Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84022-611-9, pp. 7–11, p. 7.