It can turn a minor talent into a household name and leave genius to languish in obscurity. Sometimes, though, it works in reverse, bringing new lustre to those whose reputations appeared to have faded for ever, although sadly this too often occurs after their death. That, certainly, is the case with novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Taylor, whose low literary profile some have attributed to the fact she shared her name with a more famous contemporary. As one admirer, the novelist Philip Hensher has written, when one speaks of this under-rated mistress of the bourgeois tale, one is obliged to say "Elizabeth-Taylor- the-novelist".
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