A Childhood

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Enid Marx, dust jacket of "A Childhood"

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A Childhood




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This book is a good example of one that skates the fine line between biography and autobiography. It appears in the 1939 Hogarth Press Catalogue under 'Biography, Memoirs, etc.' which of course combines the two categories. The dust jacket declares that the book 'is not altogether easy to classify. It is either biographical fiction or fictional biography.' Allinson's book consists of seven chapters: ‘Illness,’ ‘Sunday,’ ‘The Forest,’ ‘Seaside,’ ‘More Seaside,’ ‘Pity,’ and ‘Preparations.’ Each chapter begins with a woodcut by Enid Marx, who also designed the cover. Allinson's preface, too, conflates the biographical and the fictional: "In the following pages, the seasons of one year pass and at the same time Charlotte grows from about nine to fourteen. I have left out all mention of her precise age; partly because it does not matter and partly because I have not wished to shut her in too closely within the exact hours and places of her own experience. Unavoidably, Charlotte is more like myself than anyone else: yet if she strikes you as odd, have patience with her, for many of her contemporaries felt and acted very much as she did." The book is dedicated 'TO JUDITH WOGAN.'