Margaret Irwin





Margaret Irwin


Born
in The United Kingdom
January 01, 1899

Died
December 11, 1969

Genre


Born in 1899 and educated at Oxford, Irwin was recognized as a novelist of well-researched and occasionally heart-breaking historical fiction. She is best known for her trilogy about Elizabeth I: Young Bess, Elizabeth Captive Princess, and Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain. Young Bess was made into a movie starring Jean Simmons.

Irwin also wrote passionately about the English Civil War, causing generations to fall in love with the ill-fated but charismatic Earl of Montrose.

Average rating: 3.78 · 2,112 ratings · 178 reviews · 37 distinct worksSimilar authors
Young Bess (Elizabeth Trilo...

3.85 avg rating — 1,325 ratings — published 1944 — 14 editions
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Elizabeth, Captive Princess...

3.70 avg rating — 253 ratings — published 1948 — 12 editions
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Elizabeth and the Prince of...

3.61 avg rating — 167 ratings — published 1953 — 12 editions
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Royal Flush

3.60 avg rating — 45 ratings — published 1932 — 10 editions
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The Gay Galliard: The Great...

3.09 avg rating — 53 ratings — published 1941 — 11 editions
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Still She Wished for Company

3.74 avg rating — 39 ratings — published 1934 — 8 editions
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The Stranger Prince

3.83 avg rating — 23 ratings — published 1937 — 6 editions
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The Bride: The Story of Lou...

4.12 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 1947 — 6 editions
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The Proud Servant

4.06 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 1937 — 7 editions
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My Little House Sewing Book

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4.10 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 1997
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More books by Margaret Irwin…
Young Bess Elizabeth, Captive Princess Elizabeth and the Prince of...
(3 books)
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3.80 avg rating — 1,749 ratings

“Tonight, however, Dickens struck him in a different light. Beneath the author’s sentimental pity for the weak and helpless, he could discern a revolting pleasure in cruelty and suffering, while the grotesque figures of the people in Cruikshank’s illustrations revealed too clearly the hideous distortions of their souls. What had seemed humorous now appeared diabolic, and in disgust at these two favourites he turned to Walter Pater for the repose and dignity of a classic spirit.

But presently he wondered if this spirit were not in itself of a marble quality, frigid and lifeless, contrary to the purpose of nature. ‘I have often thought’, he said to himself, ‘that there is something evil in the austere worship of beauty for its own sake.’ He had never thought so before, but he liked to think that this impulse of fancy was the result of mature consideration, and with this satisfaction he composed himself for sleep.

He woke two or three times in the night, an unusual occurrence, but he was glad of it, for each time he had been dreaming horribly of these blameless Victorian works…

It turned out to be the Boy’s Gulliver’s Travels that Granny had given him, and Dicky had at last to explain his rage with the devil who wrote it to show that men were worse than beasts and the human race a washout. A boy who never had good school reports had no right to be so morbidly sensitive as to penetrate to the underlying cynicism of Swift’s delightful fable, and that moreover in the bright and carefully expurgated edition they bring out nowadays. Mr Corbett could not say he had ever noticed the cynicism himself, though he knew from the critical books it must be there, and with some annoyance he advised his son to take out a nice bright modern boy’s adventure story that could not depress anybody.

Mr Corbett soon found that he too was ‘off reading’. Every new book seemed to him weak, tasteless and insipid; while his old and familiar books were depressing or even, in some obscure way, disgusting. Authors must all be filthy-minded; they probably wrote what they dared not express in their lives. Stevenson had said that literature was a morbid secretion; he read Stevenson again to discover his peculiar morbidity, and detected in his essays a self-pity masquerading as courage, and in Treasure Island an invalid’s sickly attraction to brutality.

This gave him a zest to find out what he disliked so much, and his taste for reading revived as he explored with relish the hidden infirmities of minds that had been valued by fools as great and noble. He saw Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë as two unpleasant examples of spinsterhood; the one as a prying, sub-acid busybody in everyone else’s flirtations, the other as a raving, craving maenad seeking self-immolation on the altar of her frustrated passions. He compared Wordsworth’s love of nature to the monstrous egoism of an ancient bellwether, isolated from the flock.”
Margaret Irwin, Bloodstock and Other Stories

“There was some reason to call Pole heartless. His blood ran thinly in an effete body; no human emotion was urgent in him, neither love of family nor of country, and certainly not of women. But now he was forced to remember that his mother was also a woman, and to realize that her fate had lain at his door.”
Margaret Irwin, Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain

“Only danger is real, and difficulty. Yet we live to make our lives safe - and those of others. (..) I will fight my own people to keep them from fighting, for as long as can be. Never fight, until it is unsafe not to fight, unsafe for our souls as well as our bodies. Then fight for their safety, - but when it is won, remember that safety itself is unsafe. For what is safety? It is sleepy thing. It does not make one happy. It does not remind one that it is good to be alive. Life is taken for granted, so it is no longer surprise. It grows dull and monotonous, one lives as a tree or a cabbage or a cow in the straw of the byre. Our forefathers scorned "a straw death". A straw life is worse.”
Margaret Irwin, Elizabeth, Captive Princess

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