Stella Tillyard

Stella Tillyard is a British author and historian born on 16 January 1957,[1] best known for the best-selling Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1740–1832, which was made into a BBC mini-series in 1999.

From academic to novelist

British-born Stella Tillyard read English literature at Oxford University and then became a Knox Fellow at Harvard. She went on to teach English literature and art history at Harvard, and at UCLA. Her PhD on 20th-century art criticism, completed in 1985, was published as The Impact of Modernism in 1987. From 1985–86 she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has taught at Harvard, UCLA, and the University of London. She lives in Italy and England, was married to the historian John Brewer,[2] and has two children.[3]

Her novel Times of War, set in the Regency period, appeared in May 2011.[4] The author discussed in a magazine article the challenges of veracity faced by a writer of history and likewise of a historical novel: "No writer (including the professional historian) can ever really get beyond the envelope of self.... Are historians providing the master narratives of our times and historical novelists merely tinkering around the edges?"[5]

List of works

The bibliographical information is taken from the online biography.[6]

Critical reception

Aristocrats was described as "compulsively readable" by The New York Times Book Review and "singular and remarkable" by The Washington Post[7] A Royal Affair was described by The New York Times as "scrupulously researched," but "looking at history sentimentally."[8] The Daily Telegraph (London) called Tides of War "a remarkably instructive novel" by "a fluent and attractive chronicler of historical detail," but added that "the responsibility of entwining fact and fiction has had a slightly dampening effect on Tillyard's novel."[9]

Other reviewers


  1. Debrett's: Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  2. Random House Australia: Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  3. Online biography: Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  4. Stella Tillyard: Tides of War. A novel of the Peninsula War (London: Chatto & Windus, 2011). ISBN 0-7011-8317-9.
  5. 'Historical fiction: Turning tides'. History Today 61:5, May 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011. Her ideas were expressed more fully in a contribution to Writing Lives. Biography and textuality, identity and representation in early Modern England. Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker eds. (Oxford: OUP, 2008): Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  6. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  8. New York Times Book Review, 27 December 2006
  9. Telegraph review: Retrieved 8 May 2011.
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