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  • Hodder Paperbacks

This Bed Thy Centre: The Modern Classic

Pamela Hansford Johnson

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

Rediscover a classic gem with Pamela Hansford Johnson's THIS BED THY CENTRE, the explosive, defining novel about sex in 1930s London.

'Striking first novel . . . qualities of vitality and humour which set it apart.' New York Times

Described by the New York Times upon her death as 'one of Britain's best-known novelists', plunge yourself into the wry world of Pamela Hansford Johnson in this story of seduction and marriage, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Jane Howard and Barbara Pym.


Sixteen-year-old Elsie Cotton is curious about sex, but in this 1930s London suburb, there's no one who is willing to talk to her about it.

Her widowed mother refuses to engage with the fact she's growing up, her art teacher tells her she'll find out about it soon enough, and Patty Maginnis would probably know, but Elsie can't find a way to ask her. The only person who will happily help is her boyfriend, Roly; but Elsie is all to aware of the risks... but as their relationship intensifies and her curiosity grows, what options are left to her?

Banned from Battersea library, blasted by reviewers for being 'lewd' and earning the author abusive notes through the letterbox on its publication in 1935, This Bed Thy Centre is the controversial debut by Pamela Hansford Johnson that marked the start of her distinguished career.


Praise for Pamela Hansford Johnson:
'Witty, satirical and deftly malicious' Anthony Burgess

'A remarkable craftswoman' A.S. Byatt

'Hansford Johnson at her wittiest is Waugh mingled with Malcolm Bradbury Ruth Rendell

'A writer whose memory fully deserves to be kept alive' Jonathan Coe

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Praise for This Bed Thy Centre: The Modern Classic

  • As her work reappears, another missing jigsaw piece is replaced - Independent

  • Very funny - Independent

  • Witty, satirical and deftly malicious

  • Remarkable - Guardian

  • Sharply observed, artfully constructed and always enlivened by the freshness of an imagery that derives from [Johnson's] poetic beginnings - TLS

  • A remarkable craftswoman

  • Hansford Johnson at her wittiest is Waugh mingled with Malcolm Bradbury

  • Miss Johnson is one of the most accomplished of the English women writers - Kirkus

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