On both sides of the Atlantic V.S. Pritchett has been acclaimed as one of the great masters of the short story. He is also distinguished as a critic and a traveller. Born in Suffolk in 1900, he left school at the age of sixteen to work in the leather trade in London. In the Twenties in Paris he worked as a shop assistant and as a shellac salesman, and took to journalism, first during the Irish Civil War and later in Spain.
His first book, Marching Spain, the account of a long walk from Badajoz to Vigo, was published in 1928 and from then on travel was his recreation, inspiring evocations of places and peoples in The Spanish Temper (1954) and London Perceived (1962), both published by The Hogarth Press, Foreign Faces (1964), New York Proclaimed (1965) and Dublin (1967). The author of biographies of Balzac and Turgenev, he gave the Clark Lectures on George Meredith in 1969. He was for many years a director of and contributor to the New Statesman. He contributed regularly to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. His critical works include The Living Novel (1949), The Myth Makers (1979), The Tale Bearers (1980) and A Man of Letters (1985). His two volumes of autobiography, A Cab at the Door (1968) and Midnight Oil (1971), are well known in Great Britain and abroad. His novels include Nothing Like Leather (1935), Dead Man Leading (1949) and Mr Beluncle (1959). The first volume of his Collected Stories appeared in 1982 and More Collected Stories in 1983. V.S. Pritchett died in 1997.
Victor Sawdon Pritchett was born in 1900 over a toyshop and, much to his everlasting distaste, was named after Queen Victoria. A writer and critic, his is widely reputed to be one of the best short story writers of all time, with the rare ability to capture the extraordinary strangeness of everyday life. He died in 1997.