Lyndall Gordon FRSL

Senior Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College, was born in Cape Town to a mother whose mysterious illness confined her for years to life indoors. She was a child who grew to know life through books, story-telling and her mother’s own writings. It was an exciting, precious world, pure and rich in dreams and imagination, untainted by the demands of reality. Lyndall studied history and English in Cape Town, then nineteenth-century American literature at Columbia in New York. In 1973 she came to England through the Rhodes Trust. For many years she was a tutor and lecturer in English at Oxford. Her biographies include Eliot’s Early Years (1977 awarded Rose Mary Crawshay prize by The British Academy), and the sequel, Eliot’s New Life (published at the time of the poet’s centenary 1988). The two books have been rewritten as one, The Imperfect Life of T.S. Eliot. She is also author of Henry James: His Women and His Art and the revised editions of Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life (awarded the James Tait Black prize for biography), and Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life (Cheltenham prize for literature) and Shared Lives, a memoir of women’s friendship in her native South Africa. ‘A biographer with soul’ The Guardian