I can't think of a more wonderful collection of stories than Rhapsody by Dorothy Edwards. It's a card-carrying masterpiece Funny, creepy, and strangely beautiful.
- Dan Rhodes
The ten stories of Rhapsody, together with the three previously uncollected pieces added to this edition, are utterly distinctive in voice and sensibility. At least three of the Rhapsody stories – ‘A Country House’, ‘Days’, and the brilliant, allusive and enigmatic ‘A Garland of Earth’- are small masterpieces. Not bad by the age of twenty-four. All of them are extremely controlled studies of constrained desire, loneliness and incomplete relationships for which Edwards was developing a non-realist world of imagery and symbolism and her own language. Music is one of the motifs. For Edwards, music represents art, but also the possibility of sexual passion which is otherwise largely unstated but is everywhere a powerful undercurrent.
About the author:
Dorothy Edwards was born in 1903 in Ogmore Vale, a small mining community in Mid Glamorgan. Her father, an ardent socialist and Independent Labour Party leader, was the local school headmaster. After a scholarship to Howell’s School for Girls, Llandaf, she took a degree at Cardiff University in Greek and Philosophy, but literature was her passion and soon after graduating her short stories began to appear in magazines and journals. These were collected in Rhapsody (1927), along with several previously unpublished stories written during the nine months Edwards spent in Vienna and Florence. Her novel Winter Sonata (1928) followed shortly afterwards. She spent the following years trying to supplement her mother’s meagre pension by writing stories and articles for magazines and newspapers, and doing some extra-mural teaching at Cardiff University, but she never undertook full-time employment. After a brief period spent living in London with acquaintances from the Bloomsbury circle, Edwards committed suicide on a Cardiff railway line in 1934. A note left in her pocket at the time of her death read: ‘I am killing myself because I have never sincerely loved any human being all my life. I have accepted kindness and friendship and even love without gratitude, and given nothing in return.’
Last summer, on the very first day I returned from Egypt for my summer vacation, I made a new and interesting acquaintance. I reached London at about three o’clock, and had to wait about until a six o’clock appointment with my firm, and because I was too tired to do anything else in the meantime, and feeling also a little depressed and lonely, I turned into a café and sat there drinking tea and reading a magazine.