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Stella Benson

Biography

Stella Benson was born in 1892 in Lutwyche Hall. Her mother’s sister was Mary Cholmondeley, the now forgotten novelist. Because of her poor health, she was educated privately. When she was twenty, she went to the West Indies and this experience was the basis for her first novel, I Pose. On her return she became involved in charitable work in London, opening up a shop in the poor area of Hoxton. She also became interested in women’s suffrage. Her health dictated the need for a warmer climate so she went to California where she worked as a maid, bill collector and book agent before becoming a tutor at the University of California and, later, a reader at the University Press. She published her first book of poems – Twenty and another novel. She did not like American life as can be seen in her satire, The Poor Man. She then travelled to the Far East where she met and married John O’Gorman Anderson, who was working for the Chinese Customs service. Apart from occasional travels – including their honeymoon across the United States in a Ford – they spent most of the rest of their life in China, despite the dangers of the civil war. Benson spent most of her time writing, though she did organize a successful campaign against prostitution in China. She died of pneumonia in 1933.

Books about Stella Benson

R. Meredith Bedell, Stella Benson
Phyllis Bottome: Stella Benson
Joy Grant: Stella Benson: a Biography
R. Ellis Roberts: Portrait of Stella Benson

Other links

Stella Benson
Benson, Stella (1892-1933)
The Diaries of Stella Benson, 1902-1933
Unearthing Stella Benson
Robin Hyde & Stella Benson

Bibliography

1915 I Pose
1917 This is the End
1918 Twenty
1919 Living Alone
1922 The Poor Man
1924 Pipers and a Dancer
1925 The Little World
1925 The Awakening
1926 Goodbye, Stranger
1928 The Man who Missed the ‘Bus
1928 Worlds within Worlds
1930 The Far-Away Bride
1931 Hope Against Hope and Other Stories
1931 Tobit Transplanted (US: The Far-Away Bride)
1932 Christmas Formula and Other Stories
1933 Pull Devil, Pull Baker (with Count Nicolas de Toulouse Lautrec de Savine)
1935 Mundos; an Unfinished Novel
1935 Poems
1936 Collected Short Stories
1978 Some Letters of Stella Benson, 1928-1933