Stevie Smith: The Holiday

(1066 words)
  • William May (University of Southern California)

Stevie Smith’s third and final novel The Holiday (1949) remained her favourite until her death. Originally written in the early 40s, but revised to take place in the “post-war” era when publishing difficulties delayed the book, it moves away from the stream-of-consciousness style of her first two novels to a more distanced first-person narration. Her heroine has changed, too. The irreverent voice of Pompey Casmilus is replaced with Celia Phoze, who works for the Ministry as a code-breaker in London. However, the book is haunted by both the fictional memory of the earlier books and Smith’s own biographical situation. Like Pompey and Smith herself, Celia lives in a quiet London suburb with her beloved Aunt. Much of the …

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May, William. "The Holiday". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 September 2006
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]