Author: Ivy Compton-Burnett.
One of 500 numbered sets issued, the complete works, with the exclusion of Compton-Burnett's first Novel, Dolores, at the authors wish. In her will, Dame Ivy had made provision for a set of her works to be printed in a special edition but stipulated that Dolores must not be part of the set.
8vo., 19 volumes in four slipcases. Original cloth with dust wrappers. Just the slightest toning to spines of wrappers otherwise a near fine set.
“Apart from Dolores (1911), a traditional novel she later rejected as something "one wrote as a girl", Compton-Burnett's fiction deals with domestic situations in large households which, to all intents and purposes, invariably seem Edwardian. The description of human weaknesses and foibles of all sorts pervades her work, and the family that emerges from each of her novels must be seen as dysfunctional in one way or another, with parents struggling with children, or sibling rivalries producing malicious, if covert, power struggles.
Starting with Pastors and Masters (1925), Compton-Burnett developed a highly individualistic style. Her fiction relies heavily on formal dialogue (in strong contrast to the often melodramatic plots), and demands constant attention on the reader's part: there are instances in her work where important information is casually mentioned in a half sentence, and her use of punctuation is deliberately perfunctory. The result is to create a deliberately claustrophobic fictional world, dominated by the psychological exploration of small-scale power-abuse and persecution.” (The Penguin Companion to Literature [and] The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English).