Ivy Compton-Burnett

Ivy, The Life of I. Compton-BurnettIvy and Stevie

A Bibliography

•  Biography
•  Literary Criticism and Commentary
•  Interviews
•  Adaptations


Auchincloss, Louis. Love Without Wings: Some Friendships in Literature and Politics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Includes an essay on the friendship of Ivy Compton-Burnett and Margaret Jourdain.

Burkhart, Charles. Herman and Nancy and Ivy: Three Lives in Art. London: Gollancz, 1977. Essays on Herman Schrijver, Nancy Cunard, and Ivy Compton-Burnett.

Dick, Kay. Ivy & Stevie: Conversations and Reflections. London: Duckworth, 1971 and London: Allison & Busby Ltd., 1983. Remarkable interviews with Ivy Compton-Burnett and Stevie Smith, conducted by their mutual friend. Includes several photographs.

Greig, Cicely. Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Memoir. London: Garnstone Press, 1972. By Ivy Compton-Burnett's longtime typist. A warm and insightful memoir.

Liddell, Robert. Elizabeth and Ivy. London: P. Owen, 1986. Liddell's friendships with the novelist Elizabeth Taylor and Ivy Compton-Burnett.

"Obituary: Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett: Novelist Who Explored the Relationships of Family Life," London Times, 28 August 1969, p. 8.

Sprigge, Elizabeth. The Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett. London: Gollancz, 1973 and New York: G. Braziller, 1973.

Spurling, John. "A Household in Hove," a play based on the early life of Ivy Compton-Burnett. See www.author.co.uk/spurling/ for details.

Spurling, Hilary. Ivy, The Life of I. Compton-Burnett. New York: Knopf, 1984. Originally published in Great Britain in two volumes: Ivy When Young and Secrets of a Woman's Heart. (See below.) An indispensable work.

-------. Ivy When Young: The Early Life of I. Compton-Burnett, 1884-1919. London: Gollancz, 1974 and London: Allison & Busby, 1983.

-------. Secrets of a Woman's Heart: The Later Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett, 1920-1969. London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1984.

Literary Criticism and Commentary

Baldanza, Frank. Ivy Compton-Burnett. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1964. Number 11 in Twayne's English Authors Series. Insightful and well-written.

Bhagyalakshmi, J. Ivy Compton-Burnett and Her Art. Delhi, India: Mittal Publications, 1986.

Bowen, Elizabeth, Collected Impressions. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950. Includes remarks on Compton-Burnett's Parents and Children and Elders and Betters.

Burkhart, Charles, ed. The Art of Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Collection of Critical Essays. London: Gollancz, 1972.

-------. I. Compton-Burnett, London: Gollancz, 1965.

-------, guest ed. "Ivy Compton-Burnett Issue," Twentieth Century Literature, vol. 25, no. 2 (Summer 1979). Contains literary criticism, a memoir by Ivy's friend Hester Marsden-Smedley, and a transcript of a BBC interview with Ivy.

Compton-Burnett, I., and Jourdain, M. "A Conversation," in Orion: A Miscellany, Vol. I. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1945. A fascinating written "conversation" about Ivy's novels, which Compton-Burnett and Jourdain later read for the BBC. This is Compton-Burnett's only work of nonfiction. An excerpt appears in The Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett by Elizabeth Sprigge (London: Gollancz, 1973) and is reproduced in its entirely in The Art of Ivy Compton-Burnett by Charles Burkhart (London: Gollancz, 1972).

Gentile, Kathy Justice. Ivy Compton-Burnett. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991. This feminist reassessment of Ivy Compton-Burnett argues that her novels "probably comprise our literature's most searching and perspicacious inquiry into the myths, maxims, manners and mores that constitute civilized society."

Grylls, R. Glynn. I. Compton-Burnett. London: Longmans, 1971.

Johnson, Pamela Hansford. I. Compton-Burnett. Bibliographical Series of Supplements to British Book News. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1951. This book infuriated Compton-Burnett, who said of its author, "She works in such haste that her words cease to have a meaning, and a mind seems to be going to waste."

Kiernan, Robert F. Frivolity Unbound: Six Masters of the Camp Novel, Thomas Love Peacock, Max Beerbohm, Ronald Firbank, E. F. Benson, P. G. Wodehouse, Ivy Compton-Burnett. New York: Continuum Publishing Co., 1990.

Liddell, Robert, The Novels of I. Compton-Burnett. London: Gollancz, 1955.

-------. A Treatise on the Novel. London: Jonathan Cape, 1947. Contains a study of Ivy Compton-Burnett.

Mallet, Richard. Literary Upshots. London: Jonathan Cape, 1951. Contains a parody of Compton-Burnett's writing.

McCarthy, Mary. The Writing on the Wall and Other Literary Essays. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970. Includes two essays on Ivy Compton-Burnett. Recommended.

Nevius, Blake. Ivy Compton-Burnett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970. Number 47 in the Columbia Essays on Modern Writers series.

Newby, P. H. The Novel 1945-1950. Bibliographical Series of Supplements to British Book News. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1951. Pamphlet of essays on and photographs of Ivy Compton-Burnett, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Bowen, and others.

Olejniczak, Verena. Subjektivität als Dialog: Philosophische Dimensionen der Fiktion: Zur Modernität Ivy Compton-Burnetts. Munich: W. Fink, 1994.

Powell, Lady Violet. A Compton-Burnett Compendium, London: Heinemann, 1973.

Ramakrishna Rao, Vallabhaneni. Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Critical Study. Waltair, India: Andhra University Press, 1974.

Sackville-West, Edward. Inclinations. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949 and New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949. Contains an analysis of Ivy Compton-Burnett's work.

Sarkar, Rabindra Nath. Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Trend in English Fiction. Calcutta: Firma KLM, 1979.

West, Anthony. Principles and Persuasions. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1957. Contains an essay on Compton-Burnett's work that Frank Baldanza calls "a brilliantly coruscating attack, managed with high intelligence."


Bowen, John, "An Interview with Ivy Compton-Burnett" (BBC Home Programme, 17 September 1960), Twentieth Century Literature, 25, no. 2 (Summer 1979), pp. 165-72.

Kermode, Frank. "The House of Fiction: Interviews with Seven English Novelists," Partisan Review, 30 (Spring 1963), pp. 61-82.

Millgate, Michael, "Interview with Miss Compton-Burnett," Review of English Literature, III (October 1962). Also appears in The Art of I. Compton-Burnett, edited by Charles Burkhart (London: Gollancz, 1972)

Terkel, Studs, "The Visit," 1962. You can hear this interview with Ivy Compton-Burnett by visiting www.studsterkel.org/ttmyself.php and selecting the Real Audio file terkel-a0a1j3-b.rm in the section titled "Terkel comments and presents Talking To Myself - Part 1." You can also read this interview at amazon.com

Weatherby, W. J. "Tea at Four," Manchester Guardian, Air Mail Edition, LXXXVI (May 17, 1962), p. 11. An interview with Ivy in her home.


Mitchell, Julian. A Family and a Fortune: A Play. From the novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. London and New York: French, 1976.

Mitchell, Julian. A Heritage and Its History: A Play. From the novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. London and New York: Evans Plays, 1966. Read a review of this play.

Proud, Elizabeth. The Present and the Past. Unabridged audio cassettes of the Ivy Compton-Burnett novel. Oxford: Isis Audio, 1994.