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This bed thy centre - Pamela Hansford Johnson

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This bed thy centre - the modern classic
Pamela Hansford Johnson
Paperback / softback
UK Publication Date

'Striking first novel . . . qualities of vitality and humour which set it apart.' New York Times

Described by the New York Times upon her death as 'one of Britain's best-known novelists', plunge yourself into the wry world of Pamela Hansford Johnson in this story of seduction and marriage, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Jane Howard and Barbara Pym.


Sixteen-year-old Elsie Cotton is curious about sex, but in this 1930s London suburb, there's no one who is willing to talk to her about it.

Her widowed mother refuses to engage with the fact she's growing up, her art teacher tells her she'll find out about it soon enough, and Patty Maginnis would probably know, but Elsie can't find a way to ask her. The only person who will happily help is her boyfriend, Roly; but Elsie is all to aware of the risks... but as their relationship intensifies and her curiosity grows, what options are left to her?

Banned from Battersea library, blasted by reviewers for being 'lewd' and earning the author abusive notes through the letterbox on its publication in 1935, This Bed Thy Centre is the controversial debut by Pamela Hansford Johnson that marked the start of her distinguished career.


Praise for Pamela Hansford Johnson:

'Witty, satirical and deftly malicious' Anthony Burgess

'A remarkable craftswoman' A.S. Byatt

'Hansford Johnson at her wittiest is Waugh mingled with Malcolm Bradbury Ruth Rendell

'A writer whose memory fully deserves to be kept alive' Jonathan Coe

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Pamela Hansford Johnson was
born in 1912. As a novelist, she gained recognition with her first novel, This Bed Thy Centre, published in
1935. She then went on to write 26 more novels throughout her life,
ranging in genre from romantic
and high comedy to tragedy, and the psychological study of cruelty, with
themes centred around the moral responsibility of the individual in their
personal and social relations. She was also a well-respected critic, a
leading Proustian scholar, an essayist, a playwright, a Fellow of the
Royal Society of Literature and a CBE. She died in 1981.

As her work reappears, another missing jigsaw piece is replaced

Witty, satirical and deftly malicious
Anthony Burgess

Sharply observed, artfully constructed and always enlivened by the freshness of an imagery that derives from [Johnson's] poetic beginnings

A remarkable craftswoman
A.S. Byatt, author of POSSESSION

Hansford Johnson at her wittiest is Waugh mingled with Malcolm Bradbury
Ruth Rendell

Miss Johnson is one of the most accomplished of the English women writers

A writer whose memory fully deserves to be kept alive
Jonathan Coe, author of THE HOUSE OF SLEEP

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