Drabble, Margaret 1939-
Drabble, Margaret 1939-
Drabble, Margaret 1939-
Born June 5, 1939, in Sheffield, England; daughter of John Frederick (a judge) and Kathleen Marie Drabble; married Clive Walter Swift (an actor), June, 1960 (divorced, 1975); married Michael Holroyd (an author), 1982; children: (first marriage) Adam Richard George, Rebecca Margaret, Joseph. Education: Newnham College, Cambridge, B.A. (first class honors), 1960. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, dreaming.
Home—London and Somerset, England. Agent—Peters, Fraser, and Dunlop, 5th Fl., The Chambers, Chelsea Harbour, Lots Rd., London, England SW10 0XF.
Critic, editor, and author. Member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for one year.
National Book League (deputy chair, 1978-80; chair, 1980-82).
John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Award, 1966, for The Millstone; James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize, 1968, for Jerusalem the Golden; Book of the Year Award from Yorkshire Post, 1972, for The Needle's Eye; E.M. Forster Award, National Institute and American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1973; named Commander of the British Empire, 1980; The Middle Ground named a notable book of 1980, American Library Association, 1981; honorary fellow, Sheffield City Polytechnic, 1989. D.Litt., University of Sheffield, 1976, University of Manchester, 1987, University of Keele, 1988, University of Bradford, 1988, University of Hull, 1992, University of East Anglia, 1994, and University of York, 1995.
A Summer Bird-Cage, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1963, Morrow (New York, NY), 1964.
The Garrick Year, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1964, Morrow (New York, NY), 1965.
The Millstone, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1965, Morrow (New York, NY), 1966, published with new introduction by Drabble, Longman (London, England), 1970, published as Thank You All Very Much, New American Library (New York, NY), 1973, published as The Millstone, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1998.
Jerusalem the Golden, Morrow (New York, NY), 1967.
The Waterfall, Knopf (New York, NY), 1969, New American Library (New York, NY), 1986.
The Needle's Eye, Knopf (New York, NY), 1972, reprinted, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.
The Realms of Gold, Knopf (New York, NY), 1975.
The Ice Age, Knopf (New York, NY), 1977.
The Middle Ground, Knopf (New York, NY), 1980.
The Radiant Way (first novel in a trilogy), Knopf (New York, NY), 1987.
A Natural Curiosity (second novel in a trilogy), Viking (New York, NY), 1989.
The Gates of Ivory (third novel in a trilogy), Viking (New York, NY), 1991.
The Witch of Exmoor, Viking (New York, NY), 1996.
The Peppered Moth, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.
The Seven Sisters, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2002.
The Red Queen: A Transcultural Tragicomedy, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2004.
The Sea Lady: A Late Romance, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
Laura (television play), Granada Television, 1964.
Wordsworth (criticism), Evans Brothers (London, England), 1966, Arco (New York, NY), 1969.
(Author of dialogue) Isadora (screenplay), Universal, 1968.
Thank You All Very Much (screenplay; based on Drabble's novel The Millstone), Columbia, 1969, released as A Touch of Love, Palomar Pictures, 1969.
Bird of Paradise (play), first produced in London, England, 1969.
(Editor, with B.S. Johnson) London Consequences (group novel), Greater London Arts Association, 1972.
Virginia Woolf: A Personal Debt, Aloe Editions (New York, NY), 1973.
Arnold Bennett (biography), Knopf (New York, NY), 1974.
(Editor) Jane Austen, Lady Susan, the Watsons and Sanditon, Penguin (New York, NY), 1975.
(Editor, with Charles Osborne) New Stories 1, Arts Council of Great Britain (London, England), 1976.
(Editor) The Genius of Thomas Hardy, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.
For Queen and Country: Britain in the Victorian Age, Deutsch (Berlin, Germany), 1978, published as For Queen and Country: Victorian England, Houghton Mifflin (New York, NY), 1979.
A Writer's Britain: Landscape and Literature, photographs by Jorge Lewinski, Knopf (New York, NY), 1979.
(Editor) The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 5th edition, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1985, 6th edition, 2000.
(Editor, with Jenny Stringer) The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1987, 6th edition, 2006.
Stratford Revisited, Celandine Press (Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, England), 1989.
Safe as Houses, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1990.
Margaret Drabble in Tokyo, edited by Fumi Takano, Kenkyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1991.
(Editor) Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, and Poems, Charles E. Tuttle (Boston, MA), 1993.
Angus Wilson: A Biography, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
(Author of introduction) Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders, Knopf (New York, NY), 1997.
(Author of introduction) Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2001.
Kathleen Hale, 1898-2000: Memorial Exhibition, Michael Parkin Fine Art (London, England), 2001.
Contributor to Contemporary Fiction, selected by Lorna Sage, Book Trust, 1988. Author of story for "A Roman Marriage," Winkast Productions. Contributor to numerous anthologies.
On the strength of her first three novels, A Summer Bird-Cage, The Garrick Year, and The Millstone, Margaret Drabble made her reputation in the early 1960s as the preeminent novelist of the modern woman, and she has gone on in subsequent novels to reaffirm her standing. Sister of fellow novelist A.S. Byatt, Drabble focuses her fiction on women attempting to make something of themselves in modern England. In novels ranging from the early A Summer Bird-Cage to the more recent The Peppered Moth and The Seven Sisters, she moves the concerns of her protagonist to align with her own. As Stephanie Foote noted in a review of the 2004 novel The Seven Sisters for Book: "A master of quirky, richly drawn characters, Drabble is attuned to people on the brink of unexpected change." In addition to her fiction, Drabble has made her mark as a biographer and has served as editor for several highly respected literary reference works.
Drabble's characters Sarah Bennett of A Summer Bird-Cage and Rosamund Stacey of The Millstone, are, like the author herself, Oxbridge graduates. Sarah has given up the notion of going on to get a higher degree because "you can't be a sexy don," and she has spent a year aimlessly looking for something to do that is worthy of her talents and education. In the course of the novel, she considers her options, partly represented by her beautiful sister Louise, who has sacrificed any ambition she had to marry a rich, fussy, sexless man, and partly by her Oxford friends, most of whom are working at dull jobs in London and falling short of their ambitions almost as badly as Louise is. In the end, Sarah is preparing to marry her longtime Oxford boyfriend, though she insists that she will "marry a don" as opposed to becoming "a don's wife." Rosamund, a Cambridge graduate, is more determined and less conventional. Not only does she earn her doctorate in English literature during the course of the novel, but she also becomes pregnant, has the baby on her own, and experiences mother-love at the same time.
At age twenty-six, somewhat older than the other two characters and the mother of two small children, Emma Evans of The Garrick Year experiences other problems. Having just been offered a chance to escape from the domestic routine for part of the day by reading the news on television, she finds that she must move her family from London to Hereford, where her actor husband has a year's engagement with a provincial theatre company. There she tries to escape the even more intense boredom by having an affair with her husband's director. Like Rosamund, Emma finds that motherhood is the dominant factor in her life and that both she and her husband are bound to their marriage by that most important factor, the children.
Drabble's approach is realistic in her early novels because she explores the extreme ambivalence her characters feel toward motherhood and the enforced domesticity accompanying it. As Valerie Grosvenor Myer put it in Margaret Drabble: Puritanism and Permissiveness: "The woman undergraduate's interest is divided between her academic work and her feminine destiny, which at the university stage appears as though it will take the conventional social forms. The conflict is between the duty of the self-imposed task and instinct." The early Drabble heroine is constantly fighting the opposing forces of ambition—the need to do something in the world, "the greater gifts, greater duty to society line," as she describes it in A Summer Bird-Cage—and the social and biological urge to get married and/or have babies.
The two novels that follow these early treatments of women, Jerusalem the Golden and The Waterfall, represent a considerable development for Drabble as a novelist. Ellen Cronan Rose contended in Critical Essays on Margaret Drabble that Jerusalem the Golden is Drabble's "first wholly realized novel, economical in its construction, finely precise in its characterization of the heroine. In later novels she will be more profound; never will she be more completely in control of her material than in this relatively early work."
The Waterfall returns to the solipsistic protagonist but treats her in a much more self-conscious way. The most experimental of Drabble's novels, The Waterfall has as its primary stylistic characteristic a divided narrative point of view. The first half of the book is written in the third person, narrated from the point of view of protagonist Jane Grey, a young woman on the verge of agoraphobia. She is the mother of a small child, and her husband has left her during the sixth month of her second pregnancy. The novel opens with the birth of Jane's second child and her falling in love with her cousin's husband and continues with Jane's experience of the ensuing affair, which is presented as the highest and most consuming of passions. In the middle of the novel, however, Jane breaks out in the first person, exclaiming, "Lies, lies, it's all lies. A pack of lies." Jane goes on: "What have I tried to describe? A passion, a love, an unreal life, a life in limbo, without anxiety, guilt, corpses." The two voices then alternate, the third-person narrator creating an intense and unreal story of passionate love and the first-person narrator training an objective, almost cynical eye on the novel's events and characters. In one sense, this split expresses a division that runs throughout Drabble's fiction, between a romantic yearning for coherence through love and a realistic skepticism prompted by the awareness of conflict and incoherence.
Critics have been divided both on the nature of the split in point of view and on its success. Rose believed that the novel works because its point of view is a dramatization of the conflict of the woman artist: "She has divided herself into Jane, the woman (whose experience is liquid), and Jane Grey, the artist (who gives form, order, and shapeliness to that experience)."
Jerusalem the Golden's broader canvas and The Waterfall's self-conscious narration were perhaps necessary first steps toward Drabble's full development in the mid-1970s. Her two biggest novels, The Needle's Eye and The Realms of Gold, were written during this period. Together they represent her fullest exploration of substantial themes: The Needle's Eye of personal morality and The Realms of Gold of the possibilities for individual achievement despite limitations beyond the individual's physical, social, familiar, psychological, and spiritual control.
The Needle's Eye reflects both Drabble's deep interest in ethics and morality and her lack of orthodoxy. Like her, the novel's heroine, Rose Vassiliou, is unsure of her theology but possessed of a conviction that she must do right. As a young heiress she achieved a certain amount of notoriety by giving up her inheritance to marry Christopher Vassiliou, an unsavory and radical young immigrant. After their marriage, she infuriates Christopher by giving away a thirty-thousand-pound legacy to a rather dubious African charity and refusing to move out of their working-class house into a more fashionable middle-class neighborhood when he begins to make his own fortune. At the time of the novel, Rose is living in her house with her children and has divorced the violent Christopher, who is trying to get her back or to get custody of the children.
If The Needle's Eye represents the human will at its weakest and circumstance at its strongest, Drabble moves to the opposite extreme in The Realms of Gold. The protagonist in this novel, Frances Wingate, is the apotheosis of the high-powered heroine. A celebrated archaeologist in her mid-thirties, Frances has divorced the wealthy man she married at an early age and is raising their four children on her own. She has a satisfying love affair with Karel Schmidt, an historian and survivor of the Holocaust, whom she eventually marries. She is rich, accomplished, and a little smug, recognizing in herself "amazing powers of survival and adaptation," and openly admits to herself that she is a "vain, self-satisfied woman."
Frances has her frailties, but she is not affected by her limitations in any fundamental way because she does not allow them to affect her. She is Drabble's quintessential personification of will: "I must be mad, she thought to herself. I imagine a city, and it exists. If I hadn't imagined it, it wouldn't have existed." She is an obvious extreme, and Drabble sets her in opposition to the other extremes in the novel. While she makes her mark on her family, her profession, her society, even—in discovering a lost city in the desert—upon nature, she is surrounded by people who are destroyed by circumstances: environment, heredity, psychology, and fate. As Mary Hurley Moran noted in Margaret Drabble: Existing within Structures: "Drabble's fiction portrays a bleak, often menacing universe, ruled over by a harsh deity who allows human beings very little free will." Drabble's emphatic statement in The Realms of Gold, however, is that the will does count for something, that what hope there is for survival lies precisely in the individual's exercise of will in the face of what may seem overwhelming external forces.
The Ice Age and The Middle Ground present what has become the typical struggle of the individual in Drabble's work to survive and to maintain an identity in the face of a disintegrating social order. Drabble remarked that The Ice Age is in one sense a novel about money. Its protagonist, Anthony Keating, is a thoughtful man who made a fortune in real estate development during the boom times of the 1960s and lost it during the recession of the early 1970s. At the beginning of the novel he is recuperating from a heart attack and trying to come to terms with his new position in life. Meanwhile, the spoiled teenaged daughter of his fiancée, Alison Murray, has gotten herself into trouble in an eastern European country, and his former partner, Len, has landed in prison through his shady dealings. The novel is about money in many senses: about the failing British economy, about the effects that making a lot of money has on people, about the interaction of old money and new money, and about the class structures that underlie everyone's thinking about money. However, it is also about the forces that individuals in contemporary Britain are up against, from the natural fact of Alison's retarded younger daughter to the threat that an alien totalitarian government poses to her older one.
The interesting artistic fact about The Ice Age is that its narrative is not centered in one character, but is divided among Anthony, Alison, Len, and Len's girlfriend, Maureen. This is in part a reflection of the general disintegration going on in the world Drabble is presenting, in part a somewhat ironic move toward community. Not one of these characters has the force of will that makes Frances Wingate the central presence she is. Each of them is severely handicapped in some way, but they do manage to function in concert. There is some power in community.
The Middle Ground returns to a central character who is very much like Frances Wingate. Kate Armstrong is a successful writer with teenaged children who lives a very comfortable expense-account life. Because she resides in the world of The Ice Age, however, Kate is less confident than Frances of her future. In one sense The Middle Ground is about middle age. After the ending of a ten-year love affair and the abortion of a fetus with spina bifida, Kate at age forty-one is asking what is left for her to do with the rest of her life: "Work? Living for others? Just carrying on, from day to day, enjoying as much of it as one could? Responding to demands as they came, for come they would?" Faced with the decay of urban London, the realities of the Third World visited upon her in the shape of a house-guest called Mujid, the apparent failure of the women's movement, and the turning off of the youth in her world, Kate is not sure what course she should take.
In addition to stand-alone novels, Drabble has authored a trilogy that follows the lives of three women whose friendship began while they were students at Cambridge in the 1950s. In the first book, The Radiant Way, Drabble introduces Liz, a successful psychotherapist; Alix, an idealist whose socialistic principles have led her to work at low-paying, altruistic jobs; and Esther, a scholar whose main interest lies with minor artists of the Italian Renaissance. By following these three characters through the years in The Radiant Way and into their middle age in A Natural Curiosity, the author "also attempts to show us how a generation managed (or mismanaged) its hopes and dreams," commented Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times. Kakutani found this approach similar to that of Mary McCarthy's The Group, a novel about former Vassar students, and criticized the tendency in both books "to substitute exposition for storytelling, sociological observation for the development of character and drama." However, in a Newsweek review by Laura Shapiro, the critic approved of Drabble's willingness to explore all the facets of her characters' lives "at a time when skimpy prose, skeletal characterizations, frail plots and a sense of human history that stops sometime around last summer have become the new standards for fiction." Shapiro noted: "Drabble reminds us here as in all her books exactly why we still love to read."
The Gates of Ivory, which completes the trilogy, differs from The Radiant Way and A Natural Curiosity in several significant ways. For example, "in The Gates of Ivory," declared a contributor to the Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography: Contemporary Writers, 1960 to the Present, "Drabble eschews a conventional plot in favor of a compelling scrutiny of her ongoing characters." Also, while the first two books centered on crime—the murder of one of Alix's students in The Radiant Way and Alix's attempts to understand the murderer's motivation in A Natural Curiosity—The Gates of Ivory follows Liz's actions on behalf of her friend, journalist Stephen Cox, in his attempt to interview Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. Cox disappears while traveling through rural Cambodia, and Liz becomes involved in the situation first in London, when she tries to trace his route, and then in Cambodia itself, when she travels there to look for him. In the process, Drabble combines elements of the traditional domestic novel, for which she is celebrated, with journalism and literary criticism and examines such diverse topics as the Vietnam War, the novels of Joseph Conrad, and the restoration of the ancient temple complex at Angkor Wat. "The novel," stated Mary Kaiser in World Literature Today, "is multilayered, breathtaking in its ability to connect the First and Third Worlds." Disappointed with the novel's unrealized potential, Kaiser commented: "Although Drabble has flirted with the explosive possibilities of leaving the domestic novel and inventing a new form, her allegiance to traditional realism prevents her from breaking the form in order to engage fully the undomesticated facts of our complex and violent times."
In The Peppered Moth Drabble tells the fictionalized story of her mother, Bessie Bawtry Baron, who was born and raised in a coal-mining town in South Yorkshire. Despite her working-class background and the prejudices against women at the time, she attends Cambridge University on a scholarship, becomes a teacher, and eventually marries her longtime boyfriend. In the book's afterword, Drabble comments: "I wrote this book to try and understand my mother better." Except for Bessie, none of the other characters in the novel is based on real people, and the subplots of the book are also invented. In the Houston Chronicle, Shelby Hearon wrote that the subplots, one of which involves the tracing of 8,000-year-old DNA, "seem forced," and "come alive only as they relate to the central story." Charles Matthews reported in a Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service review that Drabble's use of a "neo-Victorian omniscient narrator" who often intrudes on the reader can be "irritating and coy" and noted that "there are evasions and compromises in Drabble's storytelling." Overall, however, he found "much that is sharp and insightful in the novel." Booklist contributor Donna Seaman praised the novel, noting: "Drabble glories in the musicality and pliancy of language in this exuberant, intelligent, and thoroughly entertaining saga." In the New York Times, Daphne Merkin called The Peppered Moth "one of the more absorbing novels I have read in a long time, both for its sheer storytelling ability and for its powers of imaginative conjecture."
Drabble's models have been the great British novelists of the nineteenth century—George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, the Brontës, Arnold Bennett, and to a lesser extent Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf—as well as Henry James. Elaine Showalter quoted her in A Literature of Their Own as saying: "I don't want to write an experimental novel to be read by people in fifty years, who will say, oh, well, yes, she foresaw what was coming. I'm just not interested."
Drabble's realism may very well be her personal mediation between two extreme visions that permeate her world: the vestigial yearning for a transformation of the ordinary into an ideal unity and the postmodernist view that contemporary society has disintegrated beyond the possibility of unity or coherence, beyond the possibility of even a coherent description of its disintegration. She continues to insist both on the reality of the writer and on the reality of the world she describes. While she sees very clearly the extreme tensions in our society—from the contrary pulls on a talented woman who wants both to be a mother and to make her mark on the world to the economic and political forces that threaten the precarious stability of our social institutions—she continues to believe in the human striving for something transcendent, something spiritual or ideal.
Another of the author's novels, The Witch of Exmoor, is about Frieda Haxby Palmer, a successful writer and the "witch" of the title. Bored with her children and grandchildren, the author retreats to a run-down estate near the sea to work on her memoirs while her middle-aged children squabble and begin to wonder if she is not going insane. Eventually, Frieda disappears and leaves everything she owns to a beloved half-Guyanese grandson, creating more family confrontations. "Witty, original, and caustic, Drabble dazzles," assured Donna Seaman in Booklist. New Statesman contributor Alex Clark stated: "Her narrative grows almost stealthily in power and pace, while she deploys a succession of beautifully-turned phrases and delivers dialogue that convinces on its own terms. She softens the rigidities of her intellectual project by creating a good story."
"In her 16th novel, Drabble exhibits her characteristic ironic detachment in an elegantly constructed meditation on memory, mortality, risk and reward," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor of The Red Queen: A Transcultural Tragicomedy. This time, Drabble intertwines the stories of Dr. Babs Halliwell, who is on her way to Korea for a medical conference, and that of a Korean princess and memoirist from the eighteenth century. (The memoirs are based on the writings of the real-life Korean Crown Princess Lady Hyegyong.) Babs has been given an English copy of the princess's memoirs and, reading them on the flight to Korea, soon finds that there are strange parallels between their life stories. "It's very much a departure for me," Drabble told Elfrieda Abbe for an interview in Writer. "I've never tried to do anything like that before. I've never really tried to write either a narrative set in another country or set so far back in time. What I did want to do is to show how the stories reflected off each other and how they were interconnected, how much some things have changed and how little other things have changed."
Although the novel received mixed reviews, many were favorable. Mary Margaret Benson, writing in the Library Journal, noted that "this superb story shows signs of her [Drabble's] fascination with connections—genetic, historical, and chance-met." Donna Seaman wrote in Booklist that the author "is sleight-of-hand adept at slipping profoundly insightful musings on human nature, history, and social mores."
Drabble's next novel, The Sea Lady: A Late Romance, was called "emotionally reflective and intellectually invigorating" by a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The novel focuses on Ailsa Kelman, a feminist scholar known for her outspokenness as well as her good looks. Now in her sixties, Ailsa decides to revisit the town of Ornemouth near the North Sea, where she met and married a man she cannot forget. Her former husband, Humphrey Clark, is a marine biologist who has also returned to the place where he met Ailsa so many years ago. As they encounter each other once again, many years after their divorce, their passion is rekindled. "The sea, the crucible of life, infuses every aspect of this blissfully commanding performance, and Drabble goes all out in an orgy of marine imagery," wrote Donna Seaman in Booklist. In the New Statesman, Kate Saunders noted that "it is the ideas that take precedence in this dense, fascinating novel." Saunders added: "Drabble writes beautifully about the passing of time and the sad, incomplete experience of human love."
In addition to her novels, Drabble has written well-regarded works of criticism and biography and has edited several influential volumes, including two editions of the esteemed Oxford Companion to English Literature. Her biographies include 1974's Arnold Bennett and 1996's Angus Wilson: A Biography. In the latter work, Drabble chronicles the life of Angus Wilson, a well-known British writer who became a friend of Drabble's during the 1960s. While some reviewers felt that Drabble fails to offer a fully realized portrait of Wilson's inner life, others remarked that her own training as a novelist assisted her in analyzing Wilson's character and his writing. Commenting in the London Review of Books, Frank Kermode stated: "Altogether, with the assistance and consent of [Wilson's longtime companion] Tony Garrett, … she has given a minute, intimate and candid account … of Wilson's hectic life."
In a statement on the Contemporary Writers Web site, the author reflected: "I sometimes ask myself whether I enjoy writing. The answer is yes, but a qualified yes. I only enjoy it when it's going well. Starting a new book is always hard work, and work that moreover for months feels pointless (why bother? why not do something else?) or ill-directed (why this subject? why not something more global, more domestic, less domestic?): I walk around, looking for plot, structure, characters, images, trying not to repeat or imitate or listen too much to the wrong voices. This is a dreary time, comfortless, irritable, unsatisfying."
Fortunately for Drabble's fans, she continues to overcome the initial difficulties of writing a new novel. "When the book begins to move, everything changes, and everything I see or hear or read seems to be part of, to contribute to the new pattern," Drabble also noted in Contemporary Writers: "This is exciting. It's the only time when I forget time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Allan, Tuzyline Jita, Womanist and Feminist Aesthetics: A Comparative Review, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1995.
Bokat, Nicole Suzanne, The Novels of Margaret Drabble: This Freudian Family Nexus, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1998.
Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography: Contemporary Writers, 1960 to the Present, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 2, 1974, Volume 3, 1975, Volume 5, 1976, Volume 8, 1978, Volume 10, 1979, Volume 22, 1982, Volume 53, 1989.
Creighton, Joanne V., Margaret Drabble, Methuen (London, England), 1985.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 14: British Novelists since 1960, 1983, Volume 155: Twentieth-Century British Literary Biographers, 1995.
Drabble, Margaret, A Summer Bird-Cage, Morrow (New York, NY), 1964.
Drabble, Margaret, The Middle Ground, Knopf (New York, NY), 1980.
Drabble, Margaret, The Realms of Gold, Knopf (New York, NY), 1975.
Drabble, Margaret, The Waterfall, Knopf (New York, NY), 1969.
Moran, Mary Hurley, Margaret Drabble: Existing within Structures, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1983.
Myer, Valerie Grosvenor, Margaret Drabble: Puritanism and Permissiveness, Vision Press (London, England), 1974.
Quiello, Rose, Breakdowns and Breakthoughts: The Figure of the Hysteric in Contemporary Novels by Women, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1996.
Rose, Ellen Cronan, The Novels of Margaret Drabble: Equivocal Figures, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1980.
Rose, Ellen Cronan, editor, Critical Essays on Margaret Drabble, G.K. Hall (Boston, MA), 1985.
Roxman, Susanna, Guilt and Glory: Studies in Margaret Drabble's Novels, 1963-1980, Almquist & Wiksell (Stockholm, Sweden), 1984.
Sadler, Lynn Veach, Margaret Drabble, Twayne (New York, NY), 1986.
Schmidt, Dory, and Jan Seale, editors, Margaret Drabble: Golden Realms, Pan American University (Edinberg, TX), 1982.
Showalter, Elaine, A Literature of Their Own, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1977.
Soule, George, Four British Women Novelists: Anita Brookner, Margaret Drabble, Iris Murdoch, Barbara Pym; An Annotated and Critical Secondary Bibliography, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1998.
Staley, Thomas F., editor, Twentieth-Century Women Novelists, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1982.
Stovel, Nora Foster, Margaret Drabble: Symbolic Moralist, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1989.
Todd, Janet, Gender and Literary Voice, Holmes & Meier (New York, NY), 1980.
Wojcik-Andrews, Ian, Margaret Drabble's Female Bildungsroman: Theory, Genre, and Gender, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1995.
Wynne-Davies, Marion, editor, The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, Prentice Hall General Reference (Paramus, NJ), 1990.
American Scholar, winter, 1973, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 173.
Artforum International, November, 1997, Dale Peck, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 32.
Atlantic, January, 1976, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 97; December, 1977, review of The Ice Age p. 108; November, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 96; April, 2001, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 106; November, 2002, review of The Seven Sisters, pp. 125-126.
Book, November-December, 2002, Stephanie Foote, review of The Seven Sisters, p. 85.
Booklist, May 15, 1997, Donna Seaman, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 1539; February 15, 2001, Donna Seaman, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 1084; September 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of The Red Queen: A Transcultural Tragicomedy, p. 4; December 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of The Sea Lady: A Late Romance, p. 5.
College Literature, fall, 1982, review of The Waterfall, p. 230.
Commentary, December, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 80.
Commonweal, June 18, 1976, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 408; February 13, 1981, review of The Middle Ground, p. 91.
Critic, August, 1979, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 7.
Economist, July 13, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 99; February 14, 1976, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 119.
English Review, November, 2001, Victoria Kingston, "Face to Face," interview with Margaret Drabble, p. 35.
Entertainment Weekly, September 19, 1997, Megan Harlan, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 79; May 18, 2007, Karen Karbo, review of The Sea Lady, p. 70.
Financial Times, August 14, 2004, Katharine Sale, "Seoul Survivor: The Memoirs of a Korean Child Bride Find New Life, 200 Years Later," review of The Red Queen, p. 32.
Guardian (London, England), May 29, 1969, review of The Waterfall, p. 15; January 15, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 19; April 8, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 24; May 13, 1972, review of London Consequences, p. 22; July 20, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 22; October 4, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 21; November 11, 1979, review of A Writer's Britain: Landscape and Literature, p. 21; July 13, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 22.
Harper's, November, 1969, review of The Waterfall, p. 127; October, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 87; October, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 91.
History Today, March, 1980, John Wroughton, "For Queen and Country," p. 47.
Houston Chronicle, May 13, 2001, Shelby Hearon, "Margaret Drabble's Mother: Paradise Gained and Lost," p. 13.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of The Red Queen, p. 761; February 1, 2007, review of The Sea Lady, p. 90.
Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, May 2, 2001, Charles Matthews, review of The Peppered Moth, p. K4997.
Library Journal, June 15, 1997, Edward B. St. John, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 96; June, 1, 1998, Catherine Swenson, review of A Natural Curiosity, p. 187; February 1, 2001, Barbara Love, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 125; November 1, 2002, Starr E. Smith, review of The Seven Sisters, p. 128; March 1, 2004, Marilyn Lary, review of The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 64; June 1, 2004, Barbara Hoffert, review of The Red Queen, p. 101; September 1, 2004, Mary Margaret Benson, review of The Red Queen, p. 138; January 1, 2007, Starr E. Smith, review of The Sea Lady, p. 91.
London Review of Books, June 8, 1995, Frank Kermode, review of Angus Wilson: A Biography, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2001, Merle Rubin, "Book Review; Writer's Bitterness Tinges the Tale of 3 Generations of Women," p. E3.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 18, 1987, review of The Radiant Way, p. 3; September 24, 1989, review of A Natural Curiosity, p. 9; June 9, 1996, review of Angus Wilson, p. 3.
Maclean's, September 29, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 56.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 27, 2004, "‘Red Queen’ Lacks Drabble's Usual Power."
Modern Language Review, April, 1971, "Wordsworth," p. 399.
Ms., August, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 34; July, 1978, review of The Ice Age, p. 29; November, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 37.
Nation, October 23, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 379; April 5, 1975, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 408; October 13, 1997, Kelleher Jewett, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 33.
National Review, December 23, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 1504; March 20, 1981, review of The Middle Ground, p. 307.
New Leader, July 24, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 17; April 26, 1976, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 17; January 30, 1978, review of The Ice Age, p. 21; September 22, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 12.
New Republic, July 8, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 26; September 21, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 32; October 22, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 28.
New Statesman, May 23, 1969, review of The Waterfall, p. 738; March 31, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 430; July 12, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 49; September 26, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 375; March 19, 1976, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 372; September 9, 1977, review of Ice Age, p. 343; December 7, 1979, review of A Writer's Britain, p. 903; July 11, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 55; May 26, 1995, review of Angus Wilson; November 1, 1996, Alex Clark, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 48; August 28, 2006, Kate Saunders, "The Old and the New," review of The Sea Lady, p. 49.
Newsweek, September 9, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 82; October 17, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 114; October 6, 1980, Jean Strouse, review of The Middle Ground, p. 96; November 2, 1987, Laura Shapiro, review of The Radiant Way, p. 96.
New Yorker, October 4, 1969, review of The Waterfall, p. 158; December 16, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 146; December 23, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 81; January 12, 1976, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 88; December 26, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 66.
New York Times, October 31, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 31; October 4, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 41; July 4, 1985, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 19; October 21, 1987, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Radiant Way, p. 21; August 22, 1989; May 6, 2001, Daphne Merkin, "Unnatural Selection."
New York Times Book Review, September 7, 1980, Phyllis Rose, review of The Middle Ground, p. 1; February 14, 1982, review of The Middle Ground, p. 35; November 7, 1982, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 51; July 14, 1985, James R. Kincaid, review of The Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 1; November 1, 1987, Marilynne Robinson, review of The Radiant Way, p. 12; September 3, 1989, Judith Grossman, review of A Natural Curiosity, p. 3; May 30, 1993, review of The Gates of Ivory, p. 20; June 3, 2001, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 26; October 10, 2004, Richard Eder, "The Queen and I," review of The Red Queen, p. 15; May 27, 2007, Paul Gray, "To See You Again," review of The Sea Lady, p. 7.
Observer (London, England), April 2, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 29; September 23, 1973, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 33; July 14, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 33; September 28, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 24; December 14, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 19; March 21, 1976, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 31; April 17, 1977, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 28; September 4, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 24; December 18, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 21; June 29, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 29; July 13, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 29.
People, October 13, 1980, Fred Hauptfuhrer, "England's New Virginia Woolfe? Some Say It's Margaret Drabble," p. 107; October 6, 1997, Petere Ames Carlin, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 48.
Progressive, January, 1981, "The Middle Ground," p. 56.
Publishers Weekly, June 16, 1997, review of The Witch of Exmoor, p. 44; February 26, 2001, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 55; September 6, 2004, review of The Red Queen, p. 44; December 4, 2006, review of The Sea Lady, p. 30.
Saturday Review, November 15, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 20; January 10, 1976, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 58; February 21, 1976, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 43; August 20, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 63; January 7, 1978, review of The Ice Age, p. 39.
Sewanee Review, January, 1977, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 116; April, 1978, review of The Ice Age, p. 320; January, 1982, review of A Writer's Britain, p. 79.
Spectator, April 1, 1972, review of The Needle's Eye, p. 515; July 20, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 83; September 27, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 412; February 7, 1976, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 16; February 14, 1976, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 18; July 5, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 21; May 27, 1995, review of Angus Wilson, p. 38; January 6, 2001, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 29.
Time, September 9, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 79; November 3, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 92; October 17, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 106; September 15, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 98; November 16, 1987, review of The Radiant Way, p. 87.
Times Literary Supplement, July 12, 1974, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 737; September 26, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 1077; September 2, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 1045; July 11, 1980, review of The Middle Ground, p. 772; July 12, 1985, review of Arnold Bennett, p. 783; May 1, 1987, review of The Radiant Way, p. 458; September 29, 1989, review of A Natural Curiosity, p. 1052; June 9, 1995, review of Angus Wilson, p. 24; January 12, 2001, review of The Peppered Moth, p. 22.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), August 20, 1989, review of A Natural Curiosity, p. 1.
Victorian Studies, spring, 1978, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 405.
Village Voice, November 24, 1975, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 50; October 24, 1977, review of The Ice Age, p. 103.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1976, review of The Realms of Gold, p. 59; summer, 1976, review of The Genius of Thomas Hardy, p. 93; summer, 1978, review of The Ice Age, p. 93.
World Literature Today, spring, 1993, Mary Kaiser, review of The Gates of Ivory, p. 381.
Writer, January, 2006, Elfrieda Abbe, "The Margaret Drabble Way: In an Age of Pared-down Prose, the Author's Richly Layered Novels Abound with Metaphors, Multiple Points of View and Writerly Asides," p. 20.
Yale Review, March, 1970, review of The Waterfall, p. 430; June, 1978, review of The Ice Age, p. 592.
Contemporary Writers,http://www.contemporarywriters.com/ (September 13, 2007), brief biography of Margaret Drabble.
Margaret Drabble Home Page,http://redmood.com/drabble (September 13, 2007).