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Novel on Yellow Paper

by Stevie Smith

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An artist of the utmost sophistication... Her pre-war novel Novel on Yellow Paper is an unforgettable work that has nevertheless needed to be rediscovered several times since the day it was first greeted, correctly, as a masterpiece.

—Clive James, The New Yorker

Pompey Casmilus, Stevie Smith’s loquacious alter ego and heroine, works as a secretary and writes down on yellow office paper this wickedly amusing and brainy novel. “Dear Reader,” she addresses us politely, ironically, in the whirlwind of her opinions on death, sex, art. Greek tragedy, friendship, her Aunt, the magnificent "Lion of Hull," marriage, Nazism, gossip, and the suburbs. But most of all Pompey talks about love: love for friends, love for Freddy––for Pompey is young and in love, but must she marry? Stevie Smith first tried to get her poems published in 1935, but she was told by a publisher to "go away and write a novel." Novel on Yellow Paper, the happy result of this advice, made its author an instant celebrity and was acclaimed at the time as "a curious, amusing, provocative and very serious piece of work." (The London Times Literary Supplement, 1936)

Novel on Yellow Paper

Fiction by Stevie Smith

published June 1st, 1994