Biography

Catherine Carswell

Catherine Roxburgh Carswell (née Macfarlane) was a Scottish author, biographer and journalist, and a contributor to the Scottish Renaissance. Her work is considered an integral part of Scottish women's writing of the early 20th century.

The daughter of a Glasgow merchant, Carswell was educated at the Park School. From 1901 to 1903 she attended classes in English Literature at Glasgow University. She went on to study music at the Schumann Conservatorium in Frankfurt am Main before taking up employment as reviewer and dramatic critic at the Glasgow Herald from 1907 until 1915. She was subsequently an assistant theatre critic for the Observer.

Carswell's first marriage, to Herbert Jackson in 1903, was annulled in 1908, and in 1915 she married Donald Carswell. Her first novel, Open the Door, was published in 1920, followed in 1922 by The Camomile. She developed a particular interest in the life and work of Robert Burns, publishing her celebrated The Life of Robert Burns in 1930: her unsentimental account of his life upset many Burns traditionalists. She was a close friend of DH Lawrence, and in 1932 she published The Savage Pilgrimage: a Narrative of DH Lawrence.