Read The Ha-ha by Jennifer Dawson Free Online
Book Title: The Ha-ha|
The author of the book: Jennifer Dawson
Edition: Virago Modern Classics
Date of issue: 1985
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Reader ratings: 6.6
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 988 KB
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Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize
‘A very fine first novel. Dawson writes very well, with a tender awareness of the ironies of her theme and a poetic perception of how tremulous is the distinction between the mad world and the sane.’ - Glasgow Herald
‘A remarkably talented first novel ... Miss Dawson is neither sentimental nor sensational ... Her heroine is a convincing and sympathetic character, and when her mind begins to shift into the nightmare perspective of schizophrenia the writing creates an atmosphere of quiet terror.’ - Observer
‘Cool, short, tender and occasionally as prettily ruthless as the impact of a stiletto heel . . . twice as alarming because everything is implied rather than explicit.’ - Tatler
‘A cool, clever, well-constructed novel about – smoothly speaking – the nature of reality. . . . Miss Dawson writes very well indeed, with remarkable calmness and detachment . . . [B]rilliant.’ - Penelope Mortimer, Sunday Times
‘A little masterpiece.’ - Bookman
‘A novel about madness which succeeds completely.’ - Daily Telegraph
‘I wanted the knack of existing. I did not know the rules.’ So says Josephine, the heroine of Jennifer Dawson’s remarkable novel, an exploration of a young woman’s mental illness that met with universal critical acclaim and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize as the best novel of the year. After suffering a breakdown following the death of her mother, Josephine finds herself confined to an institution where patients are ‘treated’ by such means as electroshock therapy and lobotomies. But when she falls in love with Alasdair, a fellow patient she meets on the grassy bank of the ha-ha, she decides that her recovery will be on her own defiant terms. Inspired by the author’s personal experiences, The Ha-Ha (1961) remains a moving and powerful examination of mental illness and the treatment of those who suffer from it. This new edition includes an afterword by the author and an introduction by John Sutherland.
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Read information about the authorJennifer Dawson was born and brought up in Kennington and Camberwell, South London with her three sisters and one brother. She was educated at Mary Datchelor School in Camberwell.
Jennifer read History at St Anne's College, Oxford. During her time at Oxford University she suffered a breakdown and spent several months in the Warneford Hospital, Oxford.
After graduating in 1954, Jennifer worked variously as a teacher in a convent in Laval, France, as a subeditor and indexer for the Clarendon Press and Oxford University Press on two encyclopaedias and the supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, as a welfare worker in London's East End and as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital in Worcester. In 1959 she was awarded the Dawes Hicks Scholarship for Philosophy to study at University College, London.
Jennifer marched in the ground-breaking Aldermaston marches organised by the emerging Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She met her husband Michael Hinton, an Oxford philosophy don, on the 1963 Aldermaston march.
Jennifer's experience as a mental health professional and as a patient formed the basis for her critically acclaimed 1961 debut novel "The Ha-Ha" which explores a young woman's experience of schizophrenia and the mental health care system.
Jennifer and her husband lived for many years in Charlbury near Oxford.
An Obituary for Jennifer Dawson by Polly Patullo and Elizabeth Mitchell was published in The Guardian on 26 October 2000.
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