Pastors and Masters by Ivy Compton-Burnett (Heathen Edition)

Pastors and Masters

Spine #18
Ivy Compton-Burnett
First Edition
Heathen Edition
May 2, 2021
November 29, 2022
Heathen Genera
Paperback ISBN
Hardcover ISBN

“How good we all are at talking without ever saying anything we think!” said Bumpus.

“It is not always politic to say what we think,” said Miss Basden.

“It is not so easy,” said Masson.

“Sometimes I suppose it is right to say it, whether or no we like it, and whether or no it is liked,” said Delia.

“Yes, yes; the thing to be done,” said Miss Lydia, sighing.

“Oh, just possibly. Once or twice in a lifetime,” said Mr. Bentley to his daughter.

“Nearer once than twice,” said Bumpus.

“Oh, everyone is not a man,” said Theresa.

“No, that would be a queer state of things,” said Miss Basden.

Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884–1969) was a reclusive novelist who in the 1950s became known in literary circles as “the English Secret,” and was considered austere and unassuming by all who had the rare fortune to meet her. Publicly, she was so modest that any praise of her books, made in her presence, pained her. But hidden under simple appearances lay a literary iconoclast with a biting, acerbic wit who developed a wholly distinct and highly individualistic dialogue-heavy style that would span 19 novels. A style first introduced here, in her second novel, Pastors and Masters. A short work that is largely a satiric depiction of Victorian institutions, and a character study of masculine authority and female subservience within the setting of a boys preparatory school after World War I. The crux of the loose narrative being one’s success as defined by way of novel authorship. So unique is the style borne here that it has been described as “a work of genius. It is like nothing else in the world.”

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