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Garnett, David

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1892-1981) UK author, member of the famous Garnett writing family; those of interest here including his grandfather, Richard Garnett, his father, Edward Garnett, and his mother, the translator Constance Garnett (1862-1946); Garnett was also an intimate member of the Bloomsbury Group. His first novel under his own name is also his most famous, the fantasy Lady into Fox (1922 chap); like its inferior successor, Vercors' Sylva (1961; trans 1962), this is an allegory of metamorphosis, in this instance a demure wife is transformed inexorably into a vixen, with tragic results. A Feminist reading of the book is both elucidating and inescapable; it was famously parodied by Christopher Ward (1868-1943) in Gentleman into Goose (1924 chap). A Man in the Zoo (1924) plays lightly with the constricting atmosphere of most Zoo stories by supplying a human volunteer. The Grasshoppers Come (April 1931 The Storyteller; 1931) fascinatingly combines aviation and allegory in a borderline-sf tale whose emotional aura manifests a longing for the Pax Aeronautica. Two by Two: A Story of Survival (1963) retells the story of Noah (quite possibly a portrait of Garnett's friend T H White) and the Flood; Ulterior Motives (1966) turns on an Invention called Telefaction, which (it is claimed) can transmit matter through space; The White/Garnett Letters (coll 1968), which he edited, are of great value to students of both his work and White's. He translated André Maurois's A Voyage to the Island of the Articoles (1927; trans 1928). [JC]

David Garnett

born Brighton, Sussex: 9 March 1892

died Chateau de Charry, Montcuq, France: 17 February 1981

works (selected)

works as translator


  • The White/Garnett Letters (London: Jonathan Cape, 1968) edited by David Garnett [anth: letters between Garnett and T H White: hb/M Mohan nonpictorial]


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