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Phyllis Forbes Dennis (May 31, 1884 – August 22, 1963) was a British novelist and short story writer who wrote under her birth name, Phyllis Bottome (pronounced /bəˈtoʊm/ bə-tohm).[1] She was born in Rochester, Kent to an American clergyman, Rev. William MacDonald Bottome and Mary (Leatham) Bottome. She married A. E. Forbes Dennis in 1917.[2]

Bottome studied psychoanalysis under Alfred Adler while in Vienna.[3] This would become useful in her work both as a teacher and a writer.

In 1924 she and her husband started a school in Kitzbühel in Austria. Based on the teaching of languages, the school was intended to be a community, and an educational laboratory to determine how psychology and educational theory could cure the ills of nations. One of their more famous pupils was Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels.[4]

In 1935, her novel Private Worlds was made into a film. Set in a psychiatric clinic, Bottome's knowledge of psychoanalysis proved useful in creating a realistic scene. Bottome saw her share of trouble with Danger Signal which the Hays Office forbade from becoming a Hollywood film. Germany became Bottome's home in the late 1930s,[3] and it inspired her to pen The Mortal Storm, a film which was the first to mention Hitler's name and be set in Nazi Germany.

In total, four of her works - Private Worlds, The Mortal Storm, Danger Signal, Heart of Child - were adapted to film.[5] In addition to fiction she is also known as an Adlerian who wrote a biography of Alfred Adler.[6]


She wrote her first novel when she was just seventeen.

  • Alfred Adler - Apostle of Freedom. London 1939, Faber & Faber, 3rd Ed. 1957
  • The Dark Tower, 1916
  • Kingfisher, 1922
  • The Perfect Wife, 1924
  • Life of Olive Schreiner, 1924
  • Old Wine, 1926
  • The Belated Reckoning, 1926
  • Windlestraws, 1929
  • The Advances of Harriet, 1933
  • Private Worlds, 1934
  • Murder in the Bud
  • Level Crossing, 1936
  • The Mortal Storm, 1938
  • Danger Signal, 1939
  • Masks and Faces, 1940
  • Formidable to Tyrants, 1941
  • London Pride, 1941
  • Mansion House of Liberty, 1941
  • The Heart of a Child, 1942
  • Within a Cup, 1943
  • Survival, 1943
  • From the Life, 1944, London, Faber & Faber. Six studies of the author's friends Alfred Adler, Max Beerbohm, Ivor Novello, Sara Delano Roosevelt, Ezra Pound, Margaret MacDonald Bottome.
  • The Lifeline, 1946
  • Innocence and Experience, 1947
  • Search for a Soul, 1947
  • Fortune's Finger, 1950
  • Under the Skin - Love Drew no Color Line when a White Woman entered a Negro's World, 1950
  • The Challenge, 1953
  • The Secret Stair, 1954
  • Against Whom? 1954. By chance a patient is brought to a Sanatorium on the verge of death, how he not only recovers but manages to influence the lives of the scientists who have observed him is the subject of this novel. In the course of the book the principle characters find that they must either think of others and put that thought into practise or those same 'others' will become their enemy, and destroy, one by one, his most intimate relationships.
  • Eldorado Jane, 1956
  • Walls of Glass, 1958
  • The Goal, 1962 - her autobiography
  • Our New Order or Hitler's? A Selection of Speeches by Winston Churchill, Archbishop of Canterbury, Anthony Eden & Others, ed. by Ph. Bottome, Penguin Books Middlesex 1943

Further reading


  1. ^ G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 18.
  2. ^ Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, edited by Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft, New York, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1942.
  3. ^ a b Dumont, Herve. Frank Borzage. London: McFarland & Company, 2006.
  4. ^ The life of Ian Fleming John Pearson, Pan Books Ltd, London, 1966.
  5. ^ Phyllis Bottome at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing


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