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Klara Z

Good news for Elizabeth Taylor (the novelist!) fans.....

Nicola Beauman's biography of Elizabeth Taylor, 'The Other Elizabeth Taylor' published by Persephone is out on the 23rd April. There's an excellent review in today's Daily Telegraph 'Review' section. Off to pre-order my copy of the book now----apparently there's some controversy over the book , with Elizabeth Taylor's son and daughter objecting to it....

Thanks for letting us know about this. I did wonder if there would ever be a biography, as I think she was a very private person and didn't want anything written about her. Perhaps this is what the son and daughter were trying to uphold.

The title is brilliant - it is just what I thought when I first heard of her. I think I did actually, for a minute or two, think - oh, I didn't know she wrote novels as well...!

So now I am in a dilemma. Do I respect the author's wishes and stay away from finding out about her life, or do I add to my knowledge of one of my favourite authors and read the book?
Klara Z

Well, I'd be inclined to read the book. I trust the integrity of Nicola Beauman not to go for sensationalism, and the biography can only serve to increase interest in Elizabeth Taylor's work----now, thankfully being appreciated, reprinted and with the two recent films 'Angel' and 'Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont' being out on DVD.

Yes, I'm sure I shall succumb. I think I was being a bit pious! And as it's from Persephone Books, too...

Hello Klara - I somehow missed this earlier.  I am not a fan at all of biographies, but sometimes there is something about one that is vaguely alluring...and like Freyda, I am tempted by the fact that the wonderful Persephone are publishing this!  But I rarely want to know much about the lives of authors, so we shall see.

I did manage to see the film Angel on DVD - and though it was *dreadful*!  They seemed to miss the point, I thought - and seeing how crass the adaptation was made me realise again what an unaffectedly subtle and ingenious writer Elizabeth Taylor was.
Klara Z

Hello, copy of 'The Other Elizabeth Taylor' has just arrived, and I'm loving it so far---Nicola Beauman's writing is excellent and she has drawn on some hitherto unreleased papers.

I loved the film of 'Angel'---I thought Romola Garai was brilliant and Angel's fantasy life and her complete lack of self knowledge was exactly conveyed---the deliberately stylised 'honeymoon' scenes with the 'fake' backgrounds, for example to me conveyed just how bogus she was in her emotions---trying to be a character from one of her own books.

And I didn't think the director had missed the point at all---we saw just how awful Angel was as a writer, how arrogant, and naive---an utter fantasist--but yes, it was different in some ways from the book---we didn't see Angel get old, for example. I think also, that in contrast to the book, there were times when I pitied Angel.

Agree it was slightly 'broader' in tone than the book---but books and films are different media, and I think literary subtlety can't always work on screen.

Klara, that is definitely going on my birthday list (one of my daughters bought me 'Hide and Seek' for my 2008 birthday, so perhaps she will follow that through with the biography!). I have just read 'Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont', which we discussed back at the turn of the year, when the film was shown on television. I did read it back in the 70s, when it was first published, and I commented earlier that I remembered it as rather darker than the film version. This re-read confirmed that impression. It also seemed a little more complex; Ludo, for example was a less straightforwardly 'nice' young man than in the film version, but possibly more credible for the very same reason.

I enjoyed 'Mrs Palfrey' when I first read it, but I was then still in my twenties. As a 60-something, with a mother in a nursing home, I was much more receptive to the nuances of the book this time around. Many of Elizabeth Taylor's comments were absolutely spot-on: it is wonderful to find that a book that you enjoy and admire actually becomes better with the passage of time.
Klara Z

Hello, Chris---good to see another ET fan here.  I've just finished the biography of ET by Nicola Beauman, and I enjoyed  it very much. Controversial, since ET's son and daughter have disassociated themselves from it---but I'm now going to re-read some of the novels, starting with 'A Game of Hide and Seek'.

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