Barbara Pym

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Barbara Pym (2 June 1913 – 11 January 1980) was an English novelist. Most of her novels are known for their intertextuality.


  • The new curate seemed quite a nice young man, but what a pity it was that his combinations showed, tucked carelessly into his socks, when he sat down.
    • Some Tame Gazelle (1950), chapter 1, opening sentence
  • Oh, but it was splendid the things women were doing for men all the time, thought Jane. Making them feel, perhaps sometimes by no more than a casual glance, that they were loved and admired and desired when they were worthy of none of these things – enabling them to preen themselves and puff out their plumage like birds and bask in the sunshine of love, real or imagined, it didn't matter which.
    • Jane and Prudence (1953), chapter 7
  • The small things of life were often so much bigger than the great things, she decided, wondering how many writers and philosophers had said this before her, the trivial pleasures like cooking, one's home, little poems especially sad ones, solitary walks, funny things seen and overheard.
    • Less than Angels (1955), chapter 9
  • 'I have to share a bathroom,' I had so often murmured, almost in shame, as if I personally had been found unworthy of a bathroom of my own.
    • Excellent Women (1952), chapter 1
  • 'One hears that so many husbands coming back from the war find that their civilian clothes have been devoured by moth,' said Winifred seriously. 'That must be a dreadful shock.'
    • Excellent Women (1952), chapter 5
  • 'What do women do if they don't marry,' she mused, as if she had no idea what it could be, having been married once herself and about to marry again.
    • Excellent Women (1952), chapter 14
  • occurred to me that he might well be the kind of person who would prefer tinned salmon, though I was ashamed of the unworthy thought for I knew him to be a good man.
    • A Glass of Blessings (1958), chapter 1
  • Near them stood a thin woman with purple hair and a surprised expression, as if she had not expected that it would turn out to be quite that colour.
    • A Glass of Blessings (1958), chapter 4

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