When she was young, she had had an image of herself to present to her new husband, whom she admired; then to herself, thirdly to the natives (I am an Englishwoman). Now, no one reflected the image of herself, and it seemed diminished: it had lost two-thirds of its erstwhile value (no husband, no natives). Elizabeth Taylor, ‘Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont’
Through a reading of Elizabeth Taylor’s novel Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, this paper offers an account of the way in which Elizabeth Taylor describes a particular form of loneliness and melancholy—one that is connected to loss of empire. Drawing upon Freud’s account of melancholia, and writing by Paul Gilroy and Anne Anlin Cheng, I make a case for why Elizabeth Taylor is a writer for our times.
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