The Darts of Cupid


By Edith Templeton
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400032365, 320pp.)

Publication Date: March 11, 2003

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When Edith Templeton’s stories began appearing in The New Yorker in the late 1950s, she quickly became a favorite of the magazine’s discerning readers. Her finely honed writing, honestly drawn heroines, and distinctive themes secured her reputation.

The Dart’s of Cupid collects seven of Templeton’s stories for the first time and reintroduces one of the truly great writers of the twentieth century. In settings ranging from a decrepit Bohemian castle between the wars to London during World War II to the Italian Riviera in the 1990s, the heroines of these stories often find themselves confronting unfathomable passsions and perplexing actions by others, but they seldom feel regret.

About the Author
Edith Templeton was born in Prague in 1916, a subject of the Emporer Franz Josef. The child of estate-owners on both sides, she spent much of her childhood in a castle in the Bohemian countryside. As a girl, she knew both parents of President Havel, and had cousins who were part of Kafka's circle in Prague. She courted scandal from an early age with her writing. When she was fourteen, an essay she had published in a student paper created a problem for the government and caused her to be excluded from all further education by the Republic: in the midst of a coal strike, she wrote how well-heated her private school was. She was forced to finish her education at a French Lycee, and left Prague society in 1938 to marry an Englishman. During her years in Britain, she worked in the Office of the Chief Surgeon for the U.S. Army in Cheltenham, and then became a Captain in the British Army, working as a high-level conference interpreter. After the war, divorced from her husband, she lived in a London garret and tried to make a go of it as a writer. Her short stories began to appear in "The New Yorker" in the fifties, and over the next several decades she published a number of novels, as well as a popular travel book, The Surprise of Cremona, in the U.K. Under a pseudonym, she also wrote Gordon, a novel banned for indecency in Germany and England; it was subsequently pirated by Girodias and sold in more than a dozen languages around the world. (She has only now agreed to republish this work under her own name.) "The Darts of Cupid," a novella-length story set in England during the Second World War, was published in "The New Yorker" in 1968, and made history with the magazine's readership becauseof its, for the time, explicit portrayal of a single night of love between a young married woman and her American superior in a U.S. War Office.
Mrs. Templeton's second husband was Dr. Edmund Ronald, a celebrated cardiologist, who became the physician to the King of Nepal; he was the first European to enter the royal palace of that country. With Dr. Ronald, Templeton left England to live in India, where she met Nehru and the Dalai Lama, among other major figures. She now lives in Bordighera, on the coast of Italy.

"From the Hardcover edition."

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