Compton-Burnett, Dame Ivy (kŏmˈtən-bûrˈnət) [key], 1892–1969, English novelist. Educated at the Univ. of London, she lived quietly in London for most of her life. She was named a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1967. Ivy Compton-Burnett's unconventional novels of the Edwardian gentry reveal beneath their irony, satire, and wit an embittered, frightful world of hypocrisy and cruelty. Her writings are noted for their lack of plot, their absence of description and characterization, and their almost complete reliance on articulate, highly stylized conversations. Among her most notable works are Brother and Sister (1929), A House and Its Head (1935), Manservant and Maidservant (1947), Mother and Son (1955), The Mighty and Their Fall (1961), and The Last and the First (1971).
See biographies by E. Sprigge (1973) and H. Spurling (1985); studies by C. Burkhart (1965) and R. Liddell (1975).