|01-09-2009, 08:49 AM||#1|
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Simpson, Helen de Guerry: The Woman on the Beast. V1. 9 Jan 2009
Helen de Guerry Simpson (1 December 1897 - 14 October 1940) was an Australian novelist.
Helen was born in Sydney into a family that had been settled in New South Wales for over a 100 years. Her great-grandfather, Piers Simpson, R.N., was associated with Sir Thomas Mitchell and her maternal grandfather, the Marquis de Lauret, settled at Goulburn some 50 years before her birth. Her father, Edward Percy Simpson, was a well-known solicitor at Sydney who married Anne de Lauret. Helen Simpson was educated at the Rose Bay convent (now called Kincoppal-Rose Bay, School of the Sacred Heart) and at Abbotsleigh, Wahroonga and, in 1914, she went to France for further study. When war broke out she crossed to England and was employed by the admiralty in decoding messages in foreign languages. She then went to Oxford, studied music and, failing in her examination for the music bachelors degree, took up writing.
Her first appearance in print was a slight volume of verse, Philosophies in Little, published at Sydney in a limited edition in 1921. It attracted little notice but was included by Serle in his list of the more important volumes in his Bibliography of Australasian Poetry and Verse, published in 1925. Her play, A Man of His Time, based on the life of Benvenuto Cellini and written partly in blank verse, was a remarkable piece of work for a girl of less than 25. It was performed by McMahon's repertory company at Sydney and published there by Angus and Robertson in 1923. Her first novel, Acquittal, appeared in London in 1925 and was followed by The Baseless Fabric (short stories) in 1925 and Cups, Wands and Swords (1927). The Women's Comedy (a play) was privately printed in 1926.
"This book tries to interpret a contradiction, that the most hateful actions are, as often as not, performed for the best of reasons. In the Prologue a Divine promise is made and, for good cause, broken. The three stories that follow have only this same idea in common, that men are driven to persecute and betray, not by malice or folly, but by the good they passionately wish their fellow men; that energy of which St. John speaks, sweet as honey in the mouth, bitter to the belly. The Epilogue shows Heaven defeated because divided against itself".
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