Research Thursdays - Emily Stockard Publishes Book about Barbara Pym

Thursday, Feb 24, 2022
Image (l/r): Emily Stockard, Associate Professor of English, FAU; Barbara Pym, 1979© Mayotte Magnus

Image (l/r): Emily Stockard, Associate Professor of English, FAU; Barbara Pym, 1979© Mayotte Magnus

Emily Stockard, Associate Professor of English, recently published The Making of Barbara Pym (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2021). The book offers new insights into Barbara Pym (1913-1980), a mid-twentieth-century British novelist, often characterized as the Jane Austen of her day. Focused on Pym’s formative years as a writer, The Making reveals how she honed a complex view of the necessity of change on individual and cultural levels. Supported by newly published archival material, this comprehensive study of Pym’s early work explores her personal and fictional pre-war and wartime writing, including unpublished and posthumously published works, before looking closely at Some Tame Gazelle and Excellent Women, published during Britain’s post-war austerity period.  

Of central importance is a new recognition of Pym’s use of social roles, particularly those of women, as proper avenues for change. The book traces how Pym came to devise characters whose individual development can be seen as analogous to or representative of larger cultural movements. Pym uses the spinster figure to embody the forward-looking cultural perspectives that she endorsed and then, finally, in Jane and Prudence, to figure the end of Britain’s
austerity period.

Emily Stockard is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has taught classes in British literature, from Chaucer to the 18th century, primarily at the Davie campus. She has published on 16th and 17th-century poetry and drama and, most recently, on Denton Welch and Barbara Pym. Currently, she is at work on a follow-up volume that will carry through to the end of Pym’s career and life. You can find Stockard’s new book on Amazon at this link:

(Printable version)