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Warner, Sylvia Townsend (1893–1978) By Suh, Judy

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM132-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 21 May 2024, from


Sylvia Townsend Warner was the author of novels, short stories, poetry, journalistic non-fiction, and literary criticism. Her works often inhabit settings at opposite ends of the modernist-era spectrum: on one hand, fantasy and fable worlds, and on the other, detailed contemporary domestic and historical settings incorporating themes of war, revolution, and class struggle. Warner is regarded as a pioneer of anti-colonial, LGBT, Marxist, and anti-fascist narrative, particularly in her novels of the 1920s and 1930s.

Warner was born and raised in Harrow, Middlesex, England, where her father was schoolmaster at the boys’ public school. She resided in London between 1917 and 1927 to work as a musicologist and editor on the Carnegie UK Trust’s Tudor Church Music Research Project. In 1926, she met her lifelong partner, Valentine Ackland, a poet and writer in her own right, and in 1930 they moved in with each other in Dorset. Both women were committed leftist activists who joined the Communist Party in 1935. In the year, Warner joined the Executive Committee of the International Association of Writers for the Defence of Culture (IAWDC), and in 1936, she served as Secretary of the Association of Writers for Intellectual Liberty (AWIL); both were anti-fascist organisations. During the war, Warner wrote anti-fascist and Marxist articles for leftist newspapers and magazines, including Time and Tide, the Left Review, the Daily Worker, and Our Time.

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Suh, Judy. Warner, Sylvia Townsend (1893–1978). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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