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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Summer Will Show (1936) by Sylvia Townsend Warner

File:Sylvia Townsend Warner.jpg
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Book Review
Summer Will Show (1936)
by Sylvia Townsend Warner

    The most striking difference between the 2006 and 2008 versions of the 1001 Books list is the exclusion of books by authors who placed multiple titles on the 2006 list in favor of non-English language, unrepresented authors.  A major theme of the 2006 list which is eclipsed in the 2008 list is the emphasis of books by English language women authors who are commonly excluded from the canon.  Sylvia Townsend Warner is a good example of an author from the group.  Summer Will Show is a little-read, historical novel about the French Revolution, written about a wealthy English woman who becomes a lesbian radical.

   Warner is so little read today that all of her major books are published by the New York Review of Books publishing imprint.  The NYRB is a who's-who of neglected 20th century authors, and I can only presume that their criteria for publication is a lack of interest from bigger publishing houses and a solid critical reputation.

    Warner is so little read today that only one of her books even has it's own Wikipedia page.   There have been perhaps less than ten titles in the 1001 Books list that lack an independent Wikipedia page.  Obscurity aside, there is much to admire in Summer Will Show, namely a strong female protagonist who engages in a lesbian relationship and forsakes a life of leisure in rural England for a position on the barricades of the French Revolution.

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