Inscrutable Genius

Ivy: The Life of I. Compton-Burnett

by Hilary Spurling
Knopf, 621 pp., $22.95

Inscrutable as an owl, Ivy Compton-Burnett sits out on a limb of literature, singular, eccentric, and keeping herself to herself. “Her work…seems to encourage false generalizations…. Though easy to read, she is a hard writer to grasp,” wrote Mary McCarthy; and she went on to compare her to “a giant footprint or a flying saucer,” baffling her critics.

This article is available to online subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:

Print Premium Subscription — $94.95

Purchase a print premium subscription (20 issues per year) and also receive online access to all all content on nybooks.com.

Online Subscription — $69.00

Purchase an Online Edition subscription and receive full access to all articles published by the Review since 1963.

One-Week Access — $4.99

Purchase a trial Online Edition subscription and receive unlimited access for one week to all the content on nybooks.com.

If you already have one of these subscriptions, please be sure you are logged in to your nybooks.com account. If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription. Click here to link your account services.

Letters

The Right B.B. March 14, 1985