Elizabeth Myers

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    By the time of her early death in 1947 at the age of 34, Elizabeth Myers had already made her mark on the literary scene with three published novels. The first of these, A Well Full of Leaves, appeared in 1943 and made an instantaneous impact. With its somewhat rhapsodic blend of nature mysticism and individualistic Catholicism, this story of four young siblings from a harsh domestic background polarized critical opinion but also won popular acclaim, proving an inspiration for many ordinary readers as war still raged around them. Later that same year, Myers met and married Littleton Powys, the retired headmaster of Sherborne Prep who was 40 years her senior, having had an introduction from his old friend Arthur Waugh. Despite her fragile health – at 25 she had lost her hearing in one ear and had been diagnosed with tuberculosis – the few years she spent with Littleton were happy and productive. Her second book, The Basilisk of St. James, a novel about Jonathan Swift set in the London of Queen Anne, was published in 1945 and though less commercially successful gained its share of critical attention. It was quickly followed in 1946 by Mrs. Christopher, an original murder story that plays on the psychological aspects of the nature of good and evil, and that was made into film five years later, starring Dirk Bogarde, Fay Compton and Michael Gough.

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