Writer, born 1936
in the District of Columbia
(with family mostly from Virginia
). She grew up with her British
musician father, her tomboy
mother, and her Southerner
grandmother who was determined to make Florence more of a "lady
" than her mother. (Florence gauged her success with the sentence, "no matter which sex
I went to bed with, I never smoke
d on the street.")
"My aversion to children took root the day I started kindergarten in 1941," she said, and described herself as a very good student who was never popular. She wanted to major in French in college and become a translator, but the Washington school she won a scholarship to didn't offer it as a major, so she went into history. "I graduated from college qualified to do nothing but crossword puzzles in ink," she said, and so went to graduate school in Mississippi. She didn't finish that degree, because she found out she could support herself with writing stories for "true confessions" magazines.
She proudly called herself a spinster, insisted on "Miss rather than Ms., and once referred to herself as a "conservative lesbian feminist," but in general didn't want to be associated with the movements going by any of those descriptions. She wrote all kinds of things: "thirty-seven paperback porn novels in which I was supposed to sound like a man and did" (under a pseudonym, obviously), many articles and essays for various magazines, books such as Southern Ladies and Gentlemen (essentially a humorous guidebook to understanding Southerners), and of course her memoir. For the last couple of decades of her life, the National Review was her most consistent forum. She died on January 6, 2016 (one day after her 80th birthday), from heart and lung diseases.
Books under her own name:
- 1975 Southern Ladies and Gentlemen
- 1977 Wasp, Where Is Thy Sting?
- 1978 He, an Irreverent Look at the American Male
- 1982 When Sisterhood Was in Flower
- 1985 Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady
- 1989 Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye
- 1990 Lump It or Leave It
- 1992 With Charity Toward None
- 1995 The Florence King Reader
- 2003: STET, Damnit!: The Misanthrope's Corner, 1991 to 2002.
- 2006: Deja Reviews: Florence King All Over Again.
- 2014: Withering Slights : National Review's "The Bent Pin" collection
Also, as Laura Buchanan, she wrote a romance novel
called The Barbarian Princess
-- the only pseudonymous work she's ever referred to in works under her own name.
King, Florence. Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, New York: St. Martin's Press. 1985.
King, Florence. Reflections In A Jaundiced Eye, New York: St. Martin's Press. 1989.
Schudel, Matt. "Florence King, acerbic conservative writer, dies at 80." https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/florence-king-acerbic-conservative-writer-dies-at-80/2016/01/07/6aec8a76-b565-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html