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Stella Gibbons

Updated on August 20, 2014

Author Stella Gibbons

One of my favorite all-time novels is Cold Comfort Farm. After I finished reading it, I wanted to know more about its author, London native Stella Gibbons. I was surprised to learn that Cold Comfort Farm was Stella's very first novel, and easily remains her most identifiable work of literature.

Public domain photo courtesy Isabelnotebook

Childhood and Early Work

Stella was born into a middle-class London family, the first of three children born to Telford Gibbons, a doctor, and his wife Maudine. By all accounts, Stella's father was somewhat of a tyrant, ruling the family with an iron fist.

After Stella finished her education, she would work for the British United Press as a cable decoder and held several other jobs over the next decade, including those of a literature and drama critic, a reporter, and a fashion writer. During this time, Gibbons would dabble in the world of poetry, which would pave the way for her first of many published works.

Stella Gibbons Quote

"Nature is all very well in her place, but she must not be allowed to make things untidy."

- Stella Gibbons

Professional Writing Career

Stella's first significant work was collection of poetry called The Mountain Beast, published in 1930. This effort would put Gibbons' name on the literary map and would set the stage for her first novel.

Cold Comfort Farm, which was released in 1932, will always be the defining work of Gibbons career. This novel, her first, was chiefly a satire of life at the time, and would parody several of the most popular novelists of the era. Cold Comfort Farm would go on to win the Prix Femina-Vie Heureuse, a highly prestigious literary award, two years later.

Stella would marry Allan Bourne Webb in 1933, and their union would produce one daughter, Laura, who was born in 1935. With a stable family life, and an award-winning novel completed, Gibbons was now able to concentrate on her writing career.

Cold Comfort Farm - Published in 1932

Cold Comfort Farm (Popular Penguins)
Cold Comfort Farm (Popular Penguins)

This novel is a funny, tongue in cheek parody of the gloomy novels of some the early twentieth century English writers who had previously been so popular. Sprinkled with eccentric, memorable characters, this book will take the reader on a journey that will not be soon forgotten.

 

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Later Life and Works

Gibbons would go on to pen twenty-five novels, four volumes of poetry, and three collections of short-stories. While most of her efforts are considered to be solid literary work, none would win her the critical acclaim of Cold Comfort Farm.

Stella would be made fellow at the Royal Society of Literature in 1951, and even after her husband's death in 1959, she would continue to publish her writings up until 1970, where her last novel The Woods in Winter, was released.

Stella Gibbons' death would occur on December 19, 1989. While Gibbons considered herself to be a poet first and a novelist second, it would be her triumphant Cold Comfort Farm that will always the easily recognizable cornerstone of her illustrious literary career.

Gibbon's Bibliography

List courtesy Wikipedia

1930 The Mountain Beast (poetry)

1932 Cold Comfort Farm

1933 Bassett

1933 The Priestess (poetry)

1935 Enbury Heath

1935 The Untidy Gnome (for children)

1936 Miss Linsey and Pa

1937 Roaring Tower and Other Stories (short stories)

1938 Nightingale Wood

1938 The Lowland Venus (poetry)

1939 My American

1940 Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm (short stories)

1941 The Rich House

1943 Ticky

1944 The Bachelor

1946 Westwood

1949 The Matchmaker

1949 Conference at Cold Comfort Farm

1950 Collected Poems

1951 The Swiss Summer

1953 Fort of the Bear

1954 Beside the Pearly Water (short stories)

1955 The Shadow of a Sorcerer

1956 Here Be Dragons

1958 White Sand and Grey Sand

1959 A Pink Front Door

1962 The Weather at Tregulla

1964 The Wolves Were in the Sledge

1965 The Charmers

1967 Starlight

1968 The Snow Woman

1970 The Woods in Winter

Thumbnails courtesy Wikimedia Commons and Creative Commons.

Your Thoughts on Stella Gibbons - Feel free to leave your comments here. Thanks for visiting

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    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 6 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      I remember reading "Cold Comfort Farm" when I was a child - excellent book! This lens has been blessed by this Squid Angel as part of the "Back To School Bus Trip"!

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      Love your lens

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      I really like the layout of this lens. It's highly readable and I can tell that it is all your personal words. Great job and blessed.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I just love Cold Comfort Farm! I can remember the day that I sat down to first read it. I was 14 and had just buried an old dog, the melancholy of the occasion lifted before I'd finished the first chapter.