Lucy Scholes on the Controlled Elegance of Edith Templeton

March 10, 2022

At the Paris Review, Lucy Scholes takes a closer look at the early novels of Edith Templeton, in which inflexible matriarchal figures are cast against society’s expectations. “In a society in which impressions are critical, nothing is ever quite as it seems; in Templeton’s novels, a polished exterior inevitably obscures a grubbier truth,” Scholes writes. “These are ostensibly novels of manners, but as the English novelist Anita Brookner so astutely observes, ‘they are also something more, for running beneath the social comedy, so beautifully conducted by all the principal players, there lie acts of madness, of revenge, and of revolt.’ Yet through it all, good etiquette prevails; neither comedy nor tragedy shakes the composure of Templeton’s characters—nor the controlled elegance of her own prose.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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