Book Group with Mark Scarbrough: Sylvia Townsend Warner, The Corner That Held Them

Date: 05/28/2020
Time: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

It is perhaps timely to read Sylvia Townsend Warner’s 1948 novel, newly reissued by New York Review Books Classics and set in the era of the Black Death. In memory of the wife who had once dishonored and always despised him, Brian de Retteville founded the convent in 12th century Norfolk, England. Two centuries later, the Benedictine community is well established there and, as befits a convent whose origin had such ironic beginnings, the inhabitants are prey to the ambitions, squabbles, jealousies, and pleasures of less spiritual environments. An outbreak of the Black Death, the collapse of the convent spire, the Bishop’s visitation, and a nun’s disappearance are interwoven with the everyday life of the nuns, novices, and prioresses in this marvelous imagined history, which asks important questions about the nature of community. You can read more about this novel here.

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