THE URSULA BLOOM BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Welcome to my website in honour of Ursula Bloom (1892-1984), an amazingly prolific author whose writings and life have fascinated me ever since I first discovered her output during a research project into the history of short fiction in the London Evening News at the British Library. Having once gained an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most published female author (she had over 500 books to her credit), it is a shame that her work has fallen out of print and into obscurity. Many of her novels were in the British lending library system for decades. Now most of these are no longer available, apart from the odd Chivers Press large print editions still floating around in the library network.

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Bloom was so much more than a romantic novelist. It was, ironically, one of her biggest admirers, Barbara Cartland, who pointed this out after Bloom passed away at the age of 91 in 1984. Her mainstream novels, told in an absorbing, natural style, were brilliant character studies packed with insightful glimpses of British life in a society still in thrall to the status quo of servants and gentry, stories that were set in the Edwardian era and beyond. Her very best fictional works still sparkle today, full of humour and vivid and loving depictions of the wonders of nature, the passing of the seasons and the English countryside, her writing about the natural world so absorbing at times that it took on an almost rhapsodic intensity. Novels such as The Painted Lady, The Cheval Glass and Two Pools in a Field are moving, everyday tales of young people trying to make their way in the city of London, or stories of gypsy heritage, chronicles of small town life, portrayals of farming communities, dramatic family sagas, romances and powerful studies of marriage and relationships. She wrote with a penetrating wisdom about growing up and the trials of adolescence, the inexorable passing of time and of growing old, the bitterness of disappointed ambitions, and the tough life choices all people must make. Her historical novels (based on true life events), a number of which are set in the Tudor and Victorian eras and written under the pseudonym Lozania Prole, are wonderful reads, full of period detail and colour, and written by someone who had an obvious passion for history. Throughout her career Bloom produced several children's books as well, some of these under the pen name Mary Essex.

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In addition to her fiction, Bloom was a Fleet Street journalist, penning outstanding copy for various newspapers and magazines, including Home Chat, The Star, the Sunday Dispatch, Woman's Own and the Daily Mail, through the years working her way up through a tough, male-dominated environment in the 1920s and '30s. She was a one time agony aunt, writer of feature articles, and editor of a "Woman's Page", who eventually fulfilled a lifelong ambition with a late career as a crime reporter in the post-war era. Her wonderful, painfully honest, autobiographical books, among which are No Lady in Bed and Life is No Fairy Tale, make for entertaining and fascinating reads, as are the several biographies she wrote about her family members and of various historical figures. Her nonfiction books also encompass such passions of hers as cooking, needlework, and advice on keeping pet dogs!

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A very popular author in her day and a noted public figure who appeared often on radio and television (she penned numerous plays for radio and a few for theatre), Ursula Bloom's talent and vast contribution to literature is well overdue for a reassessment. I hope this website can go some way towards addressing that and provide a useful bibliographic resource for those interested in discovering more about her many writings. She wrote so much (often under pen names) and in so many fields, that this vast body of work can take some sorting out. Therefore, this website tribute will, perhaps, forever be a work in progress. I never knew Ursula Bloom personally, but I like to think she would have seen the humour in that and also be pleased that she is still admired all these years later by those new to her impressive oeuvre. In her final years she was, apparently, unhappy that the quality of so many of her novels went unrecognised by literary critics and the public alike. Sadly, even today web bloggers and commentators make crass remarks on the datedness of some of her stories. The energy and honesty of her prose is completely lost on those obsessed with trivia and intent on displaying a lamentable misunderstanding of the complexities of the British class system, both sides of which Bloom understood, and wrote about intimately, only too well. I very much hope I can in some small way inspire a Bloom revival of sorts, a fresh appreciation for a very gifted author.

 

 

Copyright Richard Simms 2016

Email: marks3789@gmail.com