British author Elinor Glyn (1864-1943) wrote a number of novels, many featuring strong female characters in sexually charged situations. The most scandalous was Three Weeks, which nearly ended Glyn's career. Later in her career she was lured toHollywood to write screenplays, one of which originated the idea of the "It Girl." She also directed two unsuccessful films.
Glyn was born Elinor Sutherland on October 17, 1864, in Jersey, England, the daughter of Douglas and Elinor (Saunders) Sutherland. Douglas Sutherland was a Canadian-Scottish civil engineer who died of typhoid fever when Glyn was three months old. After her father's death, Glyn, her mother, older sister Lucy - who as Lady Lucy Duff Gordon would become a successful fashion designer - and her French grandmother moved to Canada. Glyn's grandmother was a particularly strong influence on Glyn; from an aristocratic background and with strong beliefs, the elderly woman helped shape her granddaughter's outlook on life.
In 1871 Glyn's mother was remarried, and the family returned to Jersey, England. Glyn and her sister did not like their stepfather, an oppressive man, nor did Glyn want to live in Jersey. Glyn became very rebellious in all facets of her life and stuck to her own ideas. Although she did not receive much of an education because she did not like the governesses assigned to teach her through the age of 14, Glyn read a great deal of the books in her stepfather's library.
As was expected of a woman of her class, Glynn wanted to marry, but was selective in her choice of suitors. As Jane Abdy wrote in the Financial Times, "Elinor was beautiful, a flame-haired temptress, too exotic and too well-dressed to be easily accepted in the society of which she sometimes adorned the fringe. Her ambition was a happy and worldly marriage." Finally, Glyn married when she was in her late twenties. From outward appearances, the 1892 match was favorable: Clayton Glyn was a landowner and a member of the gentry. While the couple eventually had two daughters, Margot and Juliet, Clayton Glyn spent his fortune and had a drinking problem. The marriage was essentially over in the early 1900s, by which time his wife had sought solace in the arms of other men such as Lord Milner and Lord Curzon.
Glyn died on September 23, 1943, in London. Moira Petty described the late novelist in Stage magazine as "the chick-lit author of the early 1900s, with a dash of Dorothy Parker and a dollop of Barbara Cortland."