P. D. James

Lindsay Sullivan (Cardiff University)
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P. D. James is one of the most popular serious detective novelists working in Britain today, renowned for her sophisticated narration and complexity of characterisation. Phyllis Dorothy James was born in Oxford in 1920, the first of three children. Her parents, Dorothy May James (1893-1966) and Sidney Victor James (1895-1979), were lower-middle class. Their marriage was not a happy one, and her mother suffered some mental ill health, including a period of compulsory hospitalisation. James's father worked for the Patent Office and the Inland Revenue and the family lived in Ludlow for a while, before moving to Cambridge when James was eleven. Her father paid for her to attend Cambridge County High School for Girls, and she remained there until she was sixteen. She enjoyed her time at…

1819 words

Citation: Sullivan, Lindsay. "P. D. James". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 June 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2339, accessed 15 June 2024.]

2339 P. D. James 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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