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Holtby, Winifred

Entry updated 27 March 2023. Tagged: Author, Theatre.

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(1898-1935) UK poet, journalist, playwright and author, who served towards the end of World War One in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps; henceforth active as a writer, sometimes as by Corbin W Wood. In her best known work, South Riding (1936), and in other novels and essays, she espoused an informed, complex Feminism also reflected in her two Satires: Mandoa, Mandoa!: A Comedy of Irrelevance (1933), which is set in an imaginary Ruritanian kingdom in Africa; and The Astonishing Island: Being a Veracious Record of the Experiences Undergone By Robinson Lippingtree Mackintosh from Tristan Da Cunha During an Accidental Visit to Unknown Territory in the Year of Grace MCMXXX-? (1933): the Island satirized is not Tristan da Cunha, from which the bewildered protagonist hails, but a Near Future UK.

Holtby's abiding interest in the Theatre generated an unpublished play, "Judgement Voice", about the Invention of a device through which one could listen to the past; "The Voice of God" in Truth Is Not Sober and Other Stories (coll 1934) recasts the drama as fiction. The Near Future, Take Back Your Freedom: A Play in Three Acts (1939) "with" (i.e. edited for the stage by) Norman Ginsbury (1902-1991), hints prophetically at World War Two in its Satire of a "Lord Protector of the British Empire" clearly based on Adolf Hitler. [JC]

see also: To-day and To-morrow.

Winifred Holtby

born Rudston, Yorkshire: 23 June 1898

died London: 29 September 1935

works (selected)

collections and stories


  • Eutychus: The Future of the Pulpit (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Company, 1928) [nonfiction: chap: in the publisher's To-day and To-morrow series: hb/nonpictorial]


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