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Lady in the DarkIris Barry and the Art of Film$
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Robert Sitton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165785

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165785.001.0001

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Early Years

Early Years

(p.11) 1 Early Years
Lady in the Dark

Robert Sitton

Columbia University Press

This chapter sketches Iris Barry's early years. Iris was born Iris Sylvia Symes in Washwood Heath, a farming outpost of Birmingham, England, on March 25, 1895. Her parents were divorced two years before she was born and Iris owed whatever stability she knew as a child to her maternal grandparents, Anne Barry Wharton and Henry Symes, the source of her surname. At eleven Iris was sent to the Institut de St. Anges, an Ursuline Convent in Verviers, Belgium, where she was one of thirty boarders. She chaffed at convent life and eventually left by mutual agreement with the head nun, who found illicit books belonging to another girl under Iris's pillow. Iris refused to snitch on her friend, and that was the end of her formal education. Back at home with her grandparents she began to write poetry. Iris's first published poem, entitled “Double”, appeared in the July 1916 issue of Poetry magazine.

Keywords:   biography, childhood, education, Poetry, poems

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