Brophy's Non-fiction

Brophy was a highly regarded contributor- on a broad range of topics- to literary magazines and journals where she was in demand for her book reviews and criticism. She also campaigned vigorously and effectively for Public Lending Right, and was an instigator of the modern animal rights movement, in addition to fighting for many other causes.

Black ShipTo Hell (1962)

A brilliant analysis of man’s destructive impulse, Brophy’s debut non-fiction volume is a tour de force unrestrained in scope and stunning in originality. A second edition, for which Brophy collated copious detailed notes, was sadly never published.

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Mozart the Dramatist (1964)

Brigid Brophy’s passion for Mozart is evident throughout her oeuvre. This volume is her inspired take on the composer’s psychological adoption of his dramatic themes, “We need not hesitate to accept Don Giovanni as Mozart’s own unconscious autobiography (…)’. This brilliant analysis is as valuable to music scholars and practitioners as it is to anyone who is simply a Mozart appreciator.

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Don’t Never Forget (1966)


Don’t Never Forget (the title is from a Mozart letter) is a volume of ‘views and reviews published or broadcast between March 1962 and November 1965’. It remains sharp, witty and provocative. The photo shows some of the articles included.

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Fifty Works of English Literature We Could do Without (1967)


This jeu d’esprit offended lovers of the ‘greats’. Irrepressibly irreverent, slating Hamlet among a host of other classics, this collaboration by my parents and their friend Charles Osborne is vastly entertaining and still riles people.

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Black & White (1968)

Published as the nineteen sixties’ revival of interest in Beardsley was underway, this volume describes the artist as ‘polymorphic’ and as an ironist. From the seeds of Beardsley’s ill-health, Brophy traces the source of his originality. His black and white image-making was not by choice, she asserts: he was forced, in effect, to ‘be modern’.

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Prancing Novelist (1973)


This substantial volume is packed with Brophy's inspired insights into Firbank's life and writing. It remains unrivalled as a portrait of a writer whose inventiveness and wit are still greatly undervalued.

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Beardsley And His World (1976)


Brophy’s second book about the life of Beardsley is a perceptive biography containing fascinating details of the artist’s short life, and most poignantly, of his illness and death.

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The Prince and the Wild Geese (1983)


Often mistaken for a children’s book, The Prince and the Wild Geese is a little-known work of Brophy’s. She uses a Russian Prince's own paintings to recount this true nineteenth-century tale of his thwarted love for an Irish girl.

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Baroque ‘n’ Roll (1987)


Brigid Brophy’s only avowed piece of autobiographical non-fiction was published in this volume of essays. She described in detail the onset of multiple sclerosis and its effects on her life, in A Case-Historical Fragment of Autobiography. There are essays, too, about Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Martina Navratilova.

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Reads (1989)


This collection includes what I think of as some personal, even mellow, reflections by Brophy.

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Just a few Brophy pamphlets for various societies she belonged to. Brigid was a member of the British Humanist Association.

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Brophy's article The Rights of Animals was first published in the Sunday Times in 1965; it threw a firecracker into the moral establishment. In making the case for decent treatment of our fellow animals, Brophy ignited a debate and the animal rights movement took a momentous step towards progress.


A Guide to Public Lending Right was published in 1983 and charts the long process by which Brophy’s Writers’ Action Group (WAG) achieved its aim of getting government funding for authors to be paid each time their books were borrowed from public libraries.

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