A Free-Spirited Woman

October 2014
12 black and white, 1 line illustrations
231 pages
24.4x15 cm
London Record Society
ISBN: 9780900952555
Format: Hardback
London Record Society
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037070, BIO022000

A Free-Spirited Woman

The London Diaries of Gladys Langford, 1936-1940

Edited by Patricia Malcolmson, Robert Malcolmson

Intimate insights into the life of a woman in 1930s London, both private and public.
Gladys Langford (born in 1890) was a free spirit, an aspiring writer (though not published in her lifetime), an inveterate attender of plays, concerts, and films, and an astute and sometimes acerbic observer of everyday life in 1930s London. Married in 1913 (the marriage was later annulled), and chained as she saw it to schoolteaching for most of her adult life, Gladys's days were sometimes unhappy but also full of incident, and featured a relationship with a longstanding but married lover, who was often on her mind.
Gladys's writing is crisp, colourful, and often biting. Her diary, from 1936 to 1940, while frequently introspective and full of self-doubts, is also a vivid portrait of social life. She writes of her quirky friends, her family and straightened family background, her schoolboys in Hoxton, and her numerous Jewish acquaintances. She also has much to say about London's public world - the behaviour of theatre audiences, street entertainers, anti-Semitic outbursts, the roller-coaster moods of people living through 1939, and fears of evacuation with the outbreak of war.

Patricia and Robert Malcolmson are social historians with a special interest in Mass Observation, women in World War Two, and English diaries written between the 1930s and the 1950s.

Table of Contents

October 1936 - July 1937: Up Close
July 1937 - July 1938: Moments in Time
July - October 1938: Perils Ahead
October 1938 - August 1939: Awaiting the Worst
March - July 1939: Writing for Mass-Observation
August - September 1939: The Current Crisis
September - October 1939: Self and Society
October 1939 - July 1940: Life Goes On


[A]n impressive (and well designed) book JOURNAL OF THE ISLINGTON ARCHAEOLOGY & HISTORY SOCIETY

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