Review: The Bookbag reviews Edith Morley autobiography


The Bookbag has published a full review of Edith Morley’s autobiography  Before and After: Reminiscence on a Working Life, edited by Barbara Morris.

Morley was involved in the early feminist movement and later worked in setting up the Reading Refugee Committee which assisted Jewish refugees in world War II – work for which she would be awarded the OBE. Her descriptions throughout the book are vivid, concise and memorable and have a directness which brings situations to life in a way which is not often encountered. For the first time I felt that I was really present in a Victorian childhood or with refugees. It’s an interesting and varied life although the author makes rather less of it than is usual in such memoirs. There’s an underlying need to give credit to others and minimise criticism which is refreshing.

Many years ago I was a woman in a position where women were still unusual and many of the struggles which Morley encountered were familiar to me, but I did feel grateful for the groundwork which she and others like her had done and which made what I did possible.

(Excerpt from the review)