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About Viola Meynell
Viola Meynell Dallyn (1885–1956) was an English writer, novelist and poet. She wrote around 20 books, but was best known for her short stories and novels.
Her parents were Wilfrid and Alice Meynell. Her father was a publisher of note (Burnes and Oates) and her mother, whose maiden name was Thompson, was the sister of the well-known artist Lady Butler, (Charge of the Greys).
Her parents had a chaotic and busy literary household in Palace Court, Nottinghill Gate, London. There was a constant stream of visitors such as Robert Browning, Stevenson, Henley, Coventry Patmore, George Meredith, Francis Thompson, Stephen Phillips, W. B. Yeats, G. K. Chesterton, Sir Shane Leslie, Sir Ronald Storrs and others more or less renowned.
Her brother Francis Meynell was the driving force of The Nonesuch Press, with whom in the pre-war days she made home made books on the kitchen table, dyeing with onion skins and typing her verse to be stitched by hand into the pages.
They had a second home in the country at Greatham, Sussex where Viola married local farmer, John Dallyn, and had her only child, a son, John Jacob ("Jake") Dallyn (b. 1922).
She was romantically linked to Maitland Radford, Bill Stabb an artist who illustrated her novel "Cross in Hand Farm" and Martin Secker the publisher.
She was an early supporter of D. H. Lawrence, offering practical help in the way of typing his manuscripts and accommodation, by way of a room in her home at Greatham. She was also a champion of Herman Melville at a time when he was unfashionable. In 1920 she engineered the publishing of Moby-Dick as the first American novel in the Oxford World's Classics series in England.
During Lawrence's stay at Greatham he wrote England My England, a thinly disguised and unpleasant jab at her family. Greatham became its own centre with visitors as varied as Eric Gill, Hilaire Belloc, and Cynthia Asquith,
Her books sold well, many of them being republished both in England and in America. She had a large circle of literary friends and correspondents, including Katherine Mansfield, Compton Mackenzie and T. H. White.
She is buried in Houghton Catholic Church cemetery near Greatham.