I Capture the Castle

London: Heinemann, (1949).


First English edition, preceded by the American edition. Small spots of sunning on the spine ends, else near fine in attractive, very good dustwrapper (with wraparound jacket art) with a couple of tiny nicks at the spine ends, and a couple of short tears and scuffs on the front panel. A handsome copy of a cheaply made book. Smith's first novel, a bestseller by an Englishwoman living in the U.S., and one of the most beloved 20th Century romances, about an eccentric family living in the ruins of an old castle, and the trials and tribulations of the two daughters of the family. Basis for an enjoyable 2003 film directed by Tim Fywell, with interesting performances by Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, and Rose Byrne. An exceptionally uncommon title, seldom found in pleasing condition.

Item #409968

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I Capture the Castle. Dodie SMITH.

Dodie Smith
birth name: Dodie Gladys Smith
born: 05/03/1896
died: 11/24/1990

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Often remembered as the author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians, the children's story that Walt Disney Studios filmed as the animated One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Dorothy Gladys Smith was primarily an author of works for adults, including plays, novels, and several autobiographical works. Smith, better known by the name Dodie Smith, first gained recognition as a playwright, going by the name of C.L. Anthony until 1935, when she began to write under her own name. Her plays are generally light comedies about middle-class life that earned enough popular and critical praise. Smith originally planned to become an actress and not a playwright. After studying at the Royal Academy of Art, she performed professionally with some of her fellow students before becoming a member of the Portsmouth Repertory Theatre. During World War I, Smith went to France to help entertain the soldiers there, and she also played a role in a Zurich performance of John Galsworthy's Pigeon. But in 1923 the young actress decided to leave the theater and work as a buyer for Heal and Son, a furniture company where she was employed for the next eight years.

Then, in 1931, Smith sold her play Autumn Crocus to one of her former stage directors. Although she had written a screenplay and a stage play before, Autumn Crocus was the work that turned her career around. Her next two plays were also critically acclaimed, and some reviewers even compared Touch Wood to the work of the famous nineteenth-century Norwegian dramatist, Henrik Ibsen.

Call It a Day was the first play Smith wrote under her own name, as well as her most financially rewarding work. It ran for almost two hundred performances in New York City and had over five hundred performances in London. Traveling to the United States in 1938 to help with a New York City production of her Dear Octopus, Smith decided to remain in America, where she married her business manager, Alec Macbeth Beesley. During the next fifteen years she lived mostly in California and did some writing for Paramount Studios. It was while she was living in Pennsylvania, however, that she published her first - and most popular - novel, I Capture the Castle.

After returning to England, Smith continued to write plays and novels, but she also began writing stories for children, including The Hundred and One Dalmatians and its sequel, The Starlight Barking: More about the Hundred and One Dalmatians. The owner of a number of pet dalmatians herself, it is not surprising that Smith chose to make her main characters - Pongo, Missis Pongo, and their myriad puppies - dalmatians, and the adventures they have while foiling the plans of the evil furrier's wife, Cruella de Vil, have entertained many young readers. The last years of Smith's life were spent working on her autobiography, the four volumes of which, entitled Look Back with Love: A Manchester Childhood, Look Back with Mixed Feelings, Look Back with Astonishment, and Look Back with Gratitude, relate her experiences from childhood to the years she spent in the United States. - from Contemporary Authors Onlinemore