Sheila Chisholm

The fascinating Strange Flowers blog reviews the new biography Sheila by Robert Wainwright (Allen and Unwin, 2014). She was an Australian who became a high society figure between the wars in Britain, after marrying a lord who was recovering from war wounds in a hospital bed next to her brother. The parallels to Katharine Susannah Prichard are interesting – another Australian of a similar age (and the same year of death) who met a husband in the hospitals of the Great War. Despite the glitz around Sheila, perhaps KSP’s life was more interesting; another review complains:

Overall, I found the book rather superficial, a list of fabulous social events and prominent people. I was interested, but wanted more depth, but I suspect there just weren’t enough sources available.

Beyond, in this case, a potential lack of depth in the subject herself, lack of sources is surely the thing which defeats or at least hinders many biographies.

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About Nathan Hobby

At work on a biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard for a PhD at the University of Western Australia. Also a novelist and librarian. View all posts by Nathan Hobby

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