Author: Ivy Compton-Burnett

Profile: Ivy Compton-Burnett was an English novelist. She was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England (now in London) and died in Kensington, London, England. A fierce Victorian atheist she held no religious beliefs. One of her best works is ‘Manservant and Maidservant (1947).

She was the seventh child in a family of twelve children of a well known prolific medical author and homeopathic physician, Dr.James Compton-Burnett.

She grew up in London and Hove, in 1898-1901attended Addiscombe College after which in 1901-1902 boarded for two terms at Howard College, Bedford. Later she attained her degree in Classics at Royal Holloway College, University of London. She tutored her four younger sisters at home, after completing her graduation. Ivy’s stepmother had sent away all her step children to the boarding school. This way Ivy obtained an early model for the line of outrageous domestic bullies that reflect in most of her novels.

Ivy spent a major part of her life with Margaret Jourdain, her companion who was a well-known writer and authority on the history of furniture and decorative arts.

Writing style: Ivy Compton-Burnett’s work mainly consists of dialogue and focus on family life prevailing in the late Edwardian or Victorian upper middle class.

Published Texts:


1911 – Dolores

1925 – Pastors and Masters

1929 – Brothers and Sisters

1931 – Men and Wives

1933 – More Women Than Men

1935 – A House and Its Head

1937 – Daughters and Sons

1939 – A Family and a Fortune

1941 – Parents and Children

1944 – Elders and Betters

1947 – Manservant and Maidservant

1949 – Two Worlds and Their Ways

1951 – Darkness and Day

1953 – The Present and the Past

1955 – Mother and Son

1957 – A Father and His Fate

1959 – A Heritage and Is History

1961 – The Mighty and Their Fall

1963 – A God and His Gifts

1971 – The Last and The First

Awards and Acknowledgements:

1955 – James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Mother and Son)

1967 – Appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire(DBE)