May Edginton

May Edginton (originally Helen Marion Edginton, 1883 – 17 June 1957)[1] was an English writer of over 50 popular novels, who also collaborated with Rudolf Besier on two plays.[2] Many of her novels explore domestic predicaments.

Fiction, plays and films

The Sin of Eve (1913) features a pretty suffragette and working woman, who leaves "the Cause" to get married. Others of Edginton's novels examine escapes or solutions for heroines in unhappy domestic situations. Married Life, or The True Romance (1917), for example, shows disintegration in the relations between newly-weds living on a small income. The wife depends wholly on the husband for money and is tied to the home by the arrival of their three children, so losing all power and independence. However, she manages to reverse the situation while her husband is away on a business trip. Woman of the Family (1936) has the "household drudge" Eve advance from a secretarial job to being a dance-club hostess, yet in marriage still having "no right to her own money". She escapes with one of the club's wealthy clients. Edginton's final novel was Two Lost Sheep (1955).[2]

Three of her fiction works were filmed: "World Without End" as His Supreme Moment (1925), starring Blanche Sweet, the novel Purple and Fine Linen as Three Hours (1927) starring Corinne Griffith, and later as Adventure in Manhattan (1936) starring Jean Arthur,[2] and The Joy Girl, adapted as The Joy Girl (1927) starring Olive Borden.[1]

Her two plays, co-written with Rudolf Besier, were Secrets (1922) and The Prude's Fall (1920). Both were later filmed, the first of them twice: Secrets (1924) with Norma Talmadge and Secrets (1933) with Mary Pickford. The Prude's Fall appeared as Dangerous Virtue (1924), directed by Graham Cutts, art direction by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Jane Novak and Julanne Johnston.[1][2]

Her work was translated into several languages, including Hungarian[3] and Chinese.[4]


In 1912, Edginton married the novelist Francis Evans Bailey (died 1962), who was a colleague of hers on the Royal Magazine.[5] They had one son.[2] She died in Rondebosch, South Africa on 17 June 1957.[1]


  1. IMDb
  2. Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy: The Feminist Companion to Literature in English. Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present Day (London: Batsford, 1990), p. 329.
  3. Site in Hungarian: Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  4. OCLC Worldcat Identities Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  5. Oxford Reference Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  • Orlando Project, Cambridge University Press
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