Conference Papers

Ackley, Katherine Anne. "As Good As Anything I Ever Did: Bits Of Brilliance in Crampton Hodnet." Web.

Discusses comedy and creativity in Pym's novel Crampton Hodnet. Critics vary in their opinion of the novel; some have considered it uneven and unconvincing while others believe it is very successful in re-creating the academic milieu of North Oxford. It is frequently described in criticism as the most highly comic of all Pym’s canon. This comedic expertise is particularly notable in the characters of Miss Doggett and Dr. Fremantle. Pym shows her compassion for the rather lost and bumbling curate Stephen Latimer though he is an equally entertaining figure. Scenes with Stephen and the spinster Jessie Morrow are some of the funniest in all of Pym’s fiction.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2002.

---. "The Company of Women: Women's Friendships in the Novels of Barbara Pym." Web.

Examines the relationships between women in Pym's novels. The presenter suggests that male characters can have a profound effect on the relationships these women share. Rivalry for male attention and love causes female characters to behave in negative ways. Pym shows that female friendships have the potential to be solid, nurturing, and beneficial. In some novels Pym celebrates the strength of women; she articulates the value of comradeship among them. However, much of Pym's comedy finds expression in her portrayal of the inflated self-importance of male characters, and the effect that men have on the way in which women interact with each another.
Presented at the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, 2011.

--- "Everyone Has a Mother." Web.

Dicusses the role of mothers in the novels of Barbara Pym. Pym's mothers tend to be strong-willed, sometimes meddlesome; few are portrayed sympathetically though Pym used mothers for comic effect. They often dominate the lives of their children, continuing to oppress them even long after death. Many of the middle-aged characters continue to live according to the prescriptive influence of mother figures. Examples are Mary Beamish and Wilf Bason in A Glass of Blessings. Similarly with the Misses Jenner and Prior in Some Tame Gazelle. In A Few Green Leaves Magdalene Raven, is portrayed as burdensome to her son though she is, in reality, an innocuous personality. Male characters with close mother relationships are shown as troubled by younger women and sexually ineffectual. Edward Killigrew in Crampton Hodnet and James Boyce in The Sweet Dove Died are typical examples. Pym's novels have a striking absence of father figures; most are described as deceased, often killed in the War. Older men (fathers) are weak and ineffectual e.g. Francis Cleveland in Crampton Hodnet.
Presented at the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, St. Hilda's College, Oxford, 2004.

---. "What is a "Pymish" Mystery Novel?" Web.

This paper is concerned with six British mystery novelists who have a similarity to the writing of Barbara Pym. These writers have been compared to Barbara Pym in reviews and other formal presentations. The similarity to Pym includes novelistic elements such as egocentric clerics, unmarried women, elderly spinsters, village or rural settings, and the Anglican Church. The presenter includes the mystery writers M.C. Beaton, Joan Coggin, D.M. Greenwood, Catherine Aird, Hazel Holt, and Kate Charles. P.D. James has also indicated that Barbara Pym is a favourite author. Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2007.

Biber, Eleonore. "Celibacy of the Clergy Has Always Been Our Motto: the Clergy House of St. Luke's." Web.

Discusses the Anglo-Catholic background of the novel A Glass of Blessings and High Church Anglicanism in general. Describes in detail various liturgical practices. Provides information about St. Luke's in A Glass of Blessings and its unmarried clergy, Father Thames, Father Bode, and the clergy house assistant Wilf Bason. The physical space of St. Luke’s is described as well as Pym's use of food and drink, especially tea, as defining status and social class. Presents the character of Father Bode as Pym's ideal clergyman with his strong Christian outreach to parishioners. Also offers information about the charismatic Father John H.C. Twisaday of All Saints’ Notting Hill who was the real-life clergyman upon which the fictional Father Thames was based. Father Thames is a significant and recurring figure in Pym’s canon.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2010.

---. "City of Dreaming Spires: Barbara Pym and the Oxford Novel." Web.

Provides an analysis of Pym's North Oxford novel Crampton Hodnet. Pym presents a comic view of university life in the 1930s, evoking place and period. Compares the novel to the work of other writers and friends such as Robert Liddell (The Last Enchantments) and Philip Larkin (Jill). Contrasts these authors to A.N. Wilson (The Healing Art). Considers writers’ views of the Bodleian Library, which is represented in many different ways; as a meeting place, retreat, location of scholarship. Interpretations of Oxford the place vary from the unsentimental (Larkin) to nostalgic (Liddell).
Presented at the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Barbara Pym Society St Hilda’s College, Oxford, 2011.

Burnett, Tim. "Class and the Novels of Barbara Pym." Web.

Discusses the significance of class differences in the novels of Barbara Pym. The presenter states that Pym used all the subtleties of language to denote class differences among the characters and that class plays a significant and defining purpose. At the time Pym wrote her novels, that is, between the 1930s and the 1960s, class differences in Britain remained strong in a social context. Just as many of Pym's characters are Anglo-Catholic they are also predominately upper and upper middle-class. Pym used class distinctions and character misalliances as a source of humour. e.g. Viola Dace and Bill Sedge in No Fond Return of Love. Also discusses the significance of religious, ethnic, and sexual differences in Britain during this period.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2003.

---. "Class and the Novels of Barbara Pym. (Part 2)." Web.

Presents an analysis of class distinctions in Barbara Pym's novel A Glass of Blessings. Comments on her powers of observation and acute sensitivity to class differences, not to denigrate lower class characters, but as an acute observer and describer of the people and events around her. Comments on Pym's successful use of names and habits of speech to denote class distinctions; language and the use of U and non-U terms. Describes the likely location of the novel, where Wilmet and Rodney Forsyth lived in London. Pym focused primarily on the upper middle-class in A Glass of Blessings, a territory with which she was very familiar.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2005.

---. "St. Mary's, St. Luke's and Great St. Bart's: High Church in London, Then and Now." Web.

Examines Anglican High Church practices in the novels A Glass of Blessings and Excellent Women. Pym based the fictional St Luke's in A Glass of Blessings on the actual All Saints, Notting Hill, and, St. Mary's in Excellent Women on the real St. Gabriel's, Warwick Square, both churches located in London. These churches are discussed and compared in relation to Pym's novels written in the 1950s together with their ritual practices and status in recent times. Changes in both churches are discussed, All Saints having become less prosperous while St Gabriel's has seemingly come up in the world. Celibacy of the clergy, the Church of South India, and other Church references in Pym's novels are also considered in the light of High Church Anglicanism. Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2010.

Cocking, Yvonne. "Grey and Pointed At Both Ends": the Genesis of A Few Green Leaves and Its Public Reception." Web.

The title references Daphne Dagnall’s comment about the shape of fox’s dung in the novel A Few Green Leaves. The author provides the background for the plot and character development in the novel which was Pym’s last. The first draft was completed in early 1979, the year before Pym’s death. She referred to it as her "country novel" because it presented a microcosm of village life in Oxfordshire with almost no plot. Character development and comic scenes are its strong points though many critics find the novel less successfully developed than Pym’s other fiction. The presenter includes material from Pym's notebooks, ideas for the novel, and other jottings. Also mentioned is advice regarding the plot of the novel from Philip Larkin. Reviews of the novel were mixed but in general not very favourable. Evidence is provided.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2009.

---. "Barbara Pym and Rupert Gleadow." Web.

Offers information about Barbara Pym's relationship and subsequent friendship with fellow Oxonian Rupert Gleadow Pym met Gleadow in 1932 and last saw him in 1943. Gives extracts from letters they exchanged in the intervening years and until World War 11. Some information regarding Gleadow's later career and marriages as well as his publications in astrology are provided. Gleadow died in 1974. The presenter researched information in Pym's papers held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2008.

---. "Barbara Pym in Germany.” Web.

Presents details regarding Barbara Pym's periods in Germany between 1934 and 1938. The author draws together information published in Pym's diaries and published sources such as A Very Private Eye and A Lot of Ask. Adds information regarding her relationship with the young Nazi SS officer Friedbert Gluck, which took place in Germany in the pre-War years.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2006.

---. "Barbara's First Oxford Romance; or, Life Before Henry." Web.

Describes Pym in her early years at Oxford University and her friendship with Rupert Gleadow before she met Henry Harvey. Gleadow was particularly interested in a romantic relationship but she was less interested and it was broken off. Pym was nineteen when she met Gleadow and was in contact with him on and off until the early 1940s. Her main interest was in fellow Oxonian Henry Harvey during the 1930s.
Presented at the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, St Hilda’s College, Oxford, 2010.

---. "Jane and Prudence: A Novel of Contrasts". Web.

The presenter accessed information from Pym's notebooks deposited in the Bodleian Library for this paper. In particular, notebooks for the period 1950-53 contained extensive notes for the novel Jane and Prudence. The novel's plan and character development are presented from these unpublished notes. Includes comments from her publisher and from readers of the novel.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2012.

---. "A Thankless Task?" Web.

Pym’s notebooks were consulted for the years 1957–1959. The presenter mentions Pym's notes on her observations of neighbours in Barnes which she used subsequently in the novel No Fond Return of Love. Discusses Pym's attendance at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in 1957, also used in the novel as the conference attended by Dulcie Mainwaring and Viola Dace. Includes Pym's notes on character development and plot in the novel. Reviews of No Fond Return of Love at the time of publication are provided.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2011.

---. "What Is My Next Novel To Be" Web.

Provides information on the plot and character development in the novel A Glass of Blessings (1958) taken from Pym's literary notebooks located in the Bodleian Library, Oxford University. Information concerning Reverend Frederick Hood of St. Mary's Aldermary London, the church where Barbara heard the telephone ringing inappropriately in the vestry, a scene which she used in a Glass of Blessings. The publication history of A Glass of Blessings and correspondence with Jonathan Cape and Robert Liddell are included. Reviews of A Glass of Blessings, which appeared in various newspapers, and letters of appreciation for the novel from friends and the public, are discussed.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2010.

Cockrill, Thad. "Sister Acts: the Unlikely Pair in the Early Novels of Barbara Pym." Web.

Discusses the "unlikely pairs" of women characters in Pym's three earliest published novels, Some Tame Gazelle, Excellent Women, and Jane and Prudence. Presents the view that cultural shifts and global events during Pym's lifetime are reflected in these characters, the older females representing the parochial Victorian English past and the younger females representing a more diverse, urban, British present. Societal changes reflected in Pym's writing includes the shift from rural to urban settings, old-fashioned female characterization as opposed to the more modern, sophisticated woman, and changes in religious observance in the Anglican Church. Sexual conservatism as opposed to sexual liberation is also part of the changing Pymian fictional world.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2011.

DiPietro, Ann. "Missing Sideboards and Faded Slipcovers: Marriage in Crampton Hodnet." Web.

Presents marriage as represented by various couples in Pym's novel Crampton Hodnet; Francis and Margaret Cleveland, Ben and Agnes Waddell, Stephen Latimer and Jessie Morrow, the latter a couple considering marriage, and the ill-fated pairing of Barbara Bird and Francis Cleveland. Snapshots of several marriages are provided by Miss Doggett and Lady Beddoes. As in other Pymian novels marriage is depicted as time-worn, somewhat stale, and lacking in passion. Men are self-absorbed, vain, and often childish. At least one character acts as commentator on these marriages. In Crampton Hodnet there are two, Miss Doggett and Jessie Morrow. Crampton Hodnet shows marriage as important, providing a shared and comfortable life for its characters, despite the many flaws Pym likes to points out. But love also remains important. Jessie Morrow rejects a marriage proposal where no love is promised.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2008.

DiPietro, Dan. "A Look at Marriage in Pym's Early Novels: Jane and Prudence: Mild Kindly Looks, Spectacles and Kiddisoaps: Where Has All the Passion Gone?" Web.

The relationship between passion and companionship in marriage in Pym's novel Jane and Prudence is the focus of this presentation. The interaction of other elements such as marriage as a business transaction and power struggle are also considered. Examines several themes such as societal pressure for women to marry. Prudence feels insecure but is still ambivalent about her desire to marry. Also discussed are women’s duties once married. Women are expected to be helpmates to their husbands. The question of whether men expect passion in marriage is another theme. Pym's use of food imagery, notably in connection to male passion in the novel (men need meat), is another focus. Nicholas Cleveland's slightly foolish happiness over the "kiddisoap" animals is a reminder of the loss of passion in his marriage to Jane.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2008.

Dunlap, Barbara. "Barbara Pym and the Sermon." Web.

The sermon as part of the Anglican tradition is examined in this paper. Pym used the sermon as a descriptor of the character of clergymen in her novels. Refers to the Judgement Day sermon delivered by Archdeacon Hoccleve in Some Tame Gazelle as well as references to sermons in Civil to Strangers and Excellent Women. Presents the historical development of the sermon in the Christian Church and describes the elements of a good sermon that engages listeners, something that Pym's various clergy clearly do not follow. Discusses the life of John Henry Newman who is mentioned in several of Pym's novels.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society 2005.

Goldstein, Sandra. "The Things I See!: Suburbs and Sagas in No Fond Return of Love." Web.

No Fond Return of Love and Less Than Angels are novels that Pym set in the suburbs. Suburban life-styles and atmosphere are central to their themes. The suburbs are generally reviled in both novels; frequent negative references are made to the distances required for travel to the suburbs, the sterility and conventionality of suburban living, and the horror of living outside of central London in particular. This attitude about suburban living was typical of the 1950s period in England. A melancholy aura pervades No Fond Return of Love and the author comments on this in relation to austerity in postWar British society. Also discussed is Barbara and Hilary Pym's life in Barnes, a suburb of London. Comments on the sisters’ interest in their neighbours and the "sagas" they developed from watching other people.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2011.

Hansmann, Charles. "Bookends: Some Tame Gazelle and A Few Green Leaves." Web.

Compares and contrasts the narrative and characters in Pym's first and last novels Some Tame Gazelle and A Few Green Leaves. Discusses Belinda Bede in relation to Emma Howick as the main protagonists. An analysis of the curate Edgar Donne, Archdeacon Henry Hoccleve, and Rector Tom Dagnall are provided. Faith is questioned in A Few Green Leaves both by Rector Dagnall and his sister Daphne. A comparison is made between Henry Hoccleve and Tom Dagnall. The women they are involved with, Agatha and Daphne, are both viewed as impediments in the men's lives, ruling the vicarage and rectory. Previous love relationships appear in both novels, in some instances still unresolved years later (Belinda Bede and Emma Howick). In both novels characters observe and note the activities of others in the village. Emma watches from behind the curtains and both Harriet and Belinda observe others even with binoculars in hand.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2009

Kelly, Kristin G. "Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Pain of Idleness Under Cover of Sleek Wealth." Web.

Critical analysis of the novel A Glass of Blessings. Examines Wilmet Forsyth's character, personality, and motivations in the novel. Shows Wilmet's inadequacies, idleness, and lack of direction in life as aspects of her personality and the upper middle-class in which she inhabits. Discusses the reaction of other characters to Wilmet such as Piers Longridge and his sister Rowena. Wilmet's character in relation to others who have meaningful work and passion in their lives, such as Mary Beamish and her mother-in-law, Sybil, are contrasted with Wilmet’s languid lifestyle. She is described as vain and self-deceptive, yet Pym manages to make her a sympathetic figure, her weaknesses being all too human.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2010.

Kennedy, Eileen. "Can Excellent Women Marry?" Web.

Discusses the implications of marriage for the typical Pymian spinster, particularly in the case of Mildred Lathbury in the novel Excellent Women. The question is posed as to whether an “excellent woman”, with the view that marriage is not really a positive place for her, can marry after all and make a success of it? Mildred initially views most marriages as dull and unsuccessful. It is questionable whether she can evolve her traditional view of marriage especially after she befriends Rocky and Helena Napier, an unconventional couple whom she initially admires. Will she be influenced by her friends? Pym also places Mildred in the paths of two potential suitors, Everard Bone and Rector Julian Mallory. In the end, though Mildred is still ambivalent about the attractions of marriage, she may engage with Bone with whom she can at least share intellectual work – his work of course, in the field of anthropology. The question remains as to whether Mildred will be happy with the dry and serious Bone who seems to want her primarily as a helpmate and typist.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2008.

Kromm, S. "Of Vicarages and Villages: The Spirit of Place in the Novels of Barbara Pym" in Literature of Region and Nation: Proceedings of the 6th International Literature of Region and Nation Conference, St. John, New Brunswick, 1996, edited by Winnifred M. Bogaards, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in Association with the University of New Brunswick, 1998.

The author states that Pym wrote of small worlds. Seven of her novels are set in London but it is a London of local parishes where the ambience and inhabitants are much like those located in rural England. “Place” as geography is vague; Pym was more interested in human interactions, the psychological analysis of character and of behaviour. Descriptions of place are integrated into the narrative, there are no lengthy passages describing locales. Time is similarly constrained. Though identifiably set in the past through narrative hints, time frequently lacks specificity. For example, Mildred Lathbury in Excellent Women attends a church that we are told was “badly bombed” in the War, thus contextualizing the period for the reader. When venturing abroad Pym’s characters tend to re-create home; they Anglicize their environment with a cup of tea or chance meetings with other compatriots on holiday. Foreign locations such as Greece, Italy, and Africa are associated with the exotic or at least, as un-English, with a sub-text of unfamiliar attributes such as personal indulgence or sexuality (Italy) or missionaries (Africa) that evoke a colonial past. The presenter states that a sense of community is established because characters re-appear from other novels; readers may feel that they already “know” them having encountered them previously. Also discussed is the prevalence of two themes in Pym’s novels: the Anglican Church and anthropology. Vicars and vicarages are prominent in many novels, both being central to Pym’s communities, though the clergy are often described in comic terms.

Lane, Maggie. "Mothers and Others in Austen and Pym." Web.

Describes the differences in the image of mothers in the novels of Jane Austen and Barbara Pym. Austen focused on young women, often at the courtship stage, whereas Pym's female characters are often middle-aged. Pym's society is dominated by women, men are ineffectual or sexually ambivalent. Austen's novels show strong patriarchy. Mothers have often died and have been replaced by mother substitutes. But Emma Woodhouse and Wilmet Forsyth have similarities. Both are prone to self-deception for example. Austen's characters are able to discard unworthy relationships and move on in life but Pym's characters remain burdened with emotional baggage and stuck in old habits. For Austen it was important that female characters show the potential to become good mother figures. In Pym's novels women focus on becoming helpmates to the men they want to marry or are already married to. Interest in children or the next generation is never mentioned.
Presented at the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, St Hilda’s College, Oxford, 2004.

McDougall, Linda. "Jane and Prudence and Barbara and Hazel: The Women Friends of Barbara Pym and How They Influenced Her Work." Web.

Includes the text of an interview with Barbara Pym's friend Hazel Holt. Provides personal details of Pym's life during the time she worked at the International African Institute and lived in London. Holt was a co-worker at the Institute and a fellow writer.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2012.

McInnis, Judy B. "Communal Rites: Tea, Wine and Milton in Barbara Pym's Novels." Web.

Examines Pym's subversive use of Milton in her novels in relation to love as it relates to the rituals of tea and wine consumption (female and male actions). Similar to the Pym scholar Annette Weld, the presenter believes that for Pym food or beverage consumption enables a ritual sense of community while providing a spiritual and physical comfort. The tea ritual in many of Pym's novels is discussed, an act that soothes, consoles, and, in some instances, as an act of symbolic devotion. Pym also uses the tea ritual as a sign of community as well as of societal order and stability. The provision of tea in an ecclesiastical setting has spiritual benefits. Pym refers to Milton in several of her novels but especially in Some Tame Gazelle and Crampton Hodnet. Archbishop Hoccleve reads Milton to Belinda Bede as a young woman; he repeats the gesture when they are both elderly. Links Pym's references to Milton as a literary expression of her real love for fellow Oxonian Henry Harvey. Discusses the evocation of profane and sacred love which serves as a background for Pym's characters' idealized vision of themselves and of others.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2002.

Myers, Gabriel, Fr. "Vibrations in the Memory: Larkin's Favourite Books and Classical Music." Web.

Comments on the fourteen-year friendship between Barbara Pym and Philip Larkin which was personal as well as professional. They supported each other in their literary ventures. Pym drew on information about the library and academic worlds from Larkin for her novels. Comments on Pym's "rogue librarians", e.g. Mervyn Cantrell in An Unsuitable Attachment. Pym quoted from Larkin's poem "Ambulances" in Quartet in Autumn and mentions Larkin's name in other novels such as A Few Green Leaves and An Academic Question. The presenter shows that the portrayal of the quirky and irascible Norman in Quartet in Autumn may have been based on Larkin's idiosyncrasies. Examines Larkin's interest in music and the choices he made for the radio program "Desert Island Discs." Though chiefly interested in jazz, in this instance Larkin made unexpected selections from Christmas carols and classical music.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2003.

Nakamura, Gloria. "No Fond Return of Love: the Birth of the 'Angry' Young Excellent Woman." Web.

Discusses Pym's novel No Fond Return of Love in connection with the Angry Young Men literary movement in Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In this connection believes that No Fond Return, set in the early 1960s, is different from previous Pym novels. The protagonist Dulcie Mainwaring is a non-Church attendant and less of an "excellent woman". Dulcie is polite and kind but less likely to be self-sacrificing, less eager to help others or feel guilty about it. She has a failed love relationship but moves on with her life. Offered an opportunity to re-unite with him she declines. The author shows the differences between men and women in Pym's novels and the unlikelihood of compatible intellectual pairings.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2012.

Salwak, Dale. "Under the Spell of Barbara Pym." Web.

Analyzes the reasons why Barbara Pym readers are enthralled by her fiction and remain loyal to its author. Salwak believes readers "fall under the spell" of Barbara Pym. The presenter discussed this "enthrallment" with various Barbara Pym Society members. The presenter describes his own experience in discovering Pym and the joy he felt that has remained with him through the years. Describes how Pym's novels provide a sense of companionship, stability and, at times, consolation. Gives details of the presenter's decision to prepare two books on Pym and the steps he went through to bring these titles to fruition. These books are a collection of essays (Palgrave Macmillan 1987) and a reference guide to Barbara Pym (G.K. Hall 1991).
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2005.

Shapiro, Laura. "Food in A Glass of Blessings." Web.

Comments on the significance of the "daily round" in Pym's novels. Discusses food as a delineator of various aspects of life and personality such as social class, atmosphere, and emotional interaction. Pym had an abiding interest in food, cooking, restaurants and eating habits which repeatedly appear in her novels. These observations convey a great deal about her characters and their lives. References to culinary history in Britain after World War 11 and the food writer Elizabeth David.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2010.

Silver, Charlotte. "Barbara Pym and the Comedy of Manners." Web.

Discusses the novel Jane and Prudence which the presenter describes as an essentially good-humoured book. Pym focuses on the comedy of social life. The various characters circle each other warily and make outrageous comments to and about each other. Considers Pym's use of the third person narrative and her successful use of adverbs. Also discusses specific social events such as Pym's descriptions of invitations to parties and the type of clothing worn. Also presented is Pym’s use of comedy in several of the novels.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2012.

Stanley, Isabel B. "Deserted Villages Real and Imagined." Web.,5&as_ylo=1991&as_yhi=2012

In A Few Green Leaves Tom Dagnall's search for the Deserted Medieval Village (or DVM), is a quest that forms a comical underpinning for the novel. In the end it is the governess Miss Vereker who stumbles upon the DVM quite by accident. The presenter provides a history of the deserted village in Britain and its significance. Renewed interest in the discovery and excavation of these villages took place in Britain beginning in the early 1950s which Pym was undoubtedly aware of. The presenter suggests that Pym may also have known about the deserted village representation in poetry such as that of Oliver Goldsmith and Thomas Gray. Philip Larkin and his poetry may also have encouraged Pym's interest in the deserted village, (Aubade and Church-Going) as well as the writing of Anthony à Wood a 17th century antiquarian who is mentioned several times in Pym’s fiction.
Full text available in Google Scholar.

---. "Not Quite a Trollope Wife: Jane Cleveland's Expectations of Herself as a Clergy Wife." Web.

Compares characters in Jane and Prudence to those in Anthony Trollope's novels for their similarities and differences. Focus is on the nature and personality of protagonist Jane Cleveland. The presenter believes that she is actually closer to a Charlotte M. Yonge character in the novel The Daisy Chain. Yonge is frequently mentioned in Pym’s fiction as a writer she admired. The presenter believes that one of Pym's strong points as a writer is that she could take elements from the writing of others novelists such as Jane Austen, Charlotte M. Yonge, and Ivy Compton-Burnett and re-work these to good effect in her own fiction. Pym remarked that she had Jane Austen in mind when writing.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2012.

---. "What Barbara Pym Read: Less-Known and Less-Regarded Works." Web.

Considers the books that Barbara Pym read that may have influenced her writing. Points out that Pym enjoyed lesser-known writers and, among those that are better known, she favoured less popular works, e.g. Elizabeth von Arnim's The Pastor's Wife. The antiquarian Anthony à Wood, who is mentioned in several of Pym's novels, was another writer she often turned to. All three Brontës were favourites but especially Charlotte Brontë and the novel Shirley. Shirley's clerical figures and independent heroine may have been models for some of Pym's characters. George Eliot's novel Scenes of Clerical Life may have been an influence. Also examined is the influence that Charlotte M. Yonge had on Pym's writing, especially the novel The Daisy Chain. Other writers and novels discussed are E.F. Benson, Elizabeth von Arnim (The Enchanted April) and fellow Oxonian Vera Brittain. Pym admitted to enjoying Ivy Compton-Burnett's style of formal, somewhat stilted dialogue, which she and her Oxford friends used for comic effect in personal correspondence.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2007.

Wallace, Catherine. "Barbara Pym's Excellent Women: Subversion From Behind a Teacup." Web.

Discusses the subversive quality of some of Barbara Pym's heroines such as Mildred Lathbury in Excellent Women and Dulcie Mainwaring in No Fond Return of Love. While appearing submissive Pym shows that Mildred and Dulcie can quietly rebel against others' expectations. These are basically independent women making their own way in life. The question is asked as to why, given the independence and modernity of some of Pym’s female characters, she was considered out of step with feminism. The presenter speculates that because characters like Mildred do not follow any collective or movement female independence is interpreted as only at a personal level. Similarly, Belinda and Harriet Bede are comfortable as spinsters, without expectation of rescue by any man. Catherine Oliphant in Less Than Angels is also independent and strong in the face of male rejection. The presenter contrasts these women with Emma Howick in A Few Green Leaves whose confidence seems much more fragile. However, the whole novel seems weaker and less assured, perhaps because Pym was terminally ill at the time it was written.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2002.

Wilson, Martha. "Cooking In a Bedsitter." Web.

Discusses the concept of female independence and spinsterhood in Pym's novels. Considers the lives of various heroines as single women and what it meant to live alone in the period in which Pym wrote. Though marriage was the ultimate goal, many of her female characters question it and state their enjoyment of autonomy and solitude. The presenter comments on the rich interior lives of the single characters in the novels.
Presented at the North American Conference of the Barbara Pym Society, 2011.