Monday, November 19, 2012

Winifred Holtby's "Why Herbert Killed His Mother."

 . . . among the things a Fella does, correct grammar is not necessarily included.
—Winifred Holtby, "Why Herbert Killed His Mother"
Winifred Holtby is probably best known for South Riding (recently shown on PBS) and as the subject of her best friend Vera Brittain's book Testament of Friendship, but for one more week you can listen online to her sly short story "Why Herbert Killed His Mother" (read by Anna Massey) at BBC Radio 4 Extra. Although Holtby considered it a "very poor story" (Selected Letters of Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby 293), it's been reprinted in at least four anthologies since it first appeared in Holtby's Truth Is Not Sober (1934; see, for example, Bad Behavior and P. G. Wodehouse's A Century of Humour). Sadly, Holtby died in 1935 at age 37 of Bright's disease.

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