Viola Garvin

Viola Gerard Garvin (1 January 1898[1] – 1969) was an English poet and literary editor at The Observer.

Life and career

Viola Garvin was born at Benwell, the eldest daughter of J. L. Garvin, later the long-time editor of The Observer; her older brother Gerard was killed in the First World War. She was named for Francis Thompson's "The Making of Viola" and for Viola Meynell, the subject of the poem.[2][3] She was educated at South Hampstead High School[4] and at Somerville College, Oxford,[5][6] and then became assistant literary editor at The Observer in 1926; she later became literary editor,[7] but was let go when her father's contract was not renewed in 1942.[8][9][10][11] She also worked as a translator from the French: for example in 1930 of Jacques Chardonne's Eva[12] and after leaving The Observer, of Romain Gary's Forest of Anger (1944),[13] Rémy's The Messenger (1954)[14] and Constantin de Grunwald's Peter the Great (1956).[15]

In the 1920s and 1930s, she repeatedly went into debt. In the early 1930s she was in a relationship with Humbert Wolfe, a poet who also reviewed for The Observer, but he was married.[16] She died in January 1969.[5]

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