Stella Gibbons

From Academic Kids

Stella Dorothea Gibbons (5 January, 190219 December, 1989) was an English novelist and poet. Her works include Cold Comfort Farm. Her family is said to have been "not dissimilar to the Starkadders" described in that novel.[1] (

Stella Gibbons began work as a secretary for an investment firm, but was shortly sacked after a miscalculation of data leading to a slight 'blip' in the worlwide stock market. However she then became a journalist. One of her comisssions was to write an article on Mary Webbs 'Precious Bane'. Gibbons though that this book was ridiculoous (it had acheived recognition however due to Stanley Baldwins 'keen delight' of it). Gibbons slandered the book in her article and then began work on COld COmfort Farm (primarily thinking of callin git 'Curse God Farm'. Cold COmfort farm won Gibbons the femma heureuse prix, an there are many reasons she has achieved this. Our protagonist, FLora Poste, is an urban socialte, orphaned due to the death of her parents, whom she never particularly knew anyway as she was away at boarding school playing lacrosse (or trying not to as the case in fact was). SHe stays with her friend Mrs SMiling who collects brassieres for a while, through the london socialite group that Flora associates with Stella Gibbons parodies the bright young things of the 1920's, featured in Evelyn Waugh's 'Vile Bodies'. She then decides to impose herself upon her relatives, a typically Austenean concept (which we can see much of in Flora as the novel progresses). She ends up living with the Starkadders at Cold COmfort Farm, deep in rural Sussex (an amusing ntoion as Sussex really isnt all that rural!) At the farm she meets Judith Starkadder, who lusts after her son, Seth. Gibbons parodies through this Paul's incestuous love for his mother Mrs Morel in Lawrence's SOns and Lovers.Seth is a 'highly sexed' young man, constantly 'off a mollockin. His brother reuben has his sights on the farm. Then there's Elfine, the nyph- like young woman who enjoys dancing on the hills in a 'peculiar green dress', and dying to marry the young esquire from the Hawk-Monitor family of country gentry. We are also presented with Amos, a protype of Eli Huntbach in a golden arrow. MAos 'gets his kick' out of preching to the 'quiverin' breth'ren'. Mr Mybug, the lawrentian ideal, obsessed with sex and phallic symbols. H eis amusing an dthorugh him Gibbons mocks the 'intellectuals' and pronounces her dislike of them. FInally ther's Aunt Ada Doom, the matriarchal figure who has a tyrannical rule over the famr in order to maintain her hope that there will 'always be starkadder's at cold comfort'. SHe threatens lunacy when anyone tries to leave the farm, for she 'saw something nasty in the wood shed'. SHe is similar to Mrs Ramsay who threatens to lkill herself. Gibbons also mocks the rural genre and the gothic novelk thoruogh her styl;e and purple passages, starred as they would be in the baedeker travel guides. CCF is a great novel and Gibbons a talented writer, I would recommend this book to everyone.


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