In this collection of mini-biographies and character sketches, Edith Sitwell muses on the nature of English women and provides sketches ranging from actresses to travellers and authors, including Florence Nightingale, Ellen Terry, Queen Elizabeth I, Virginia Woolf, and Christina Rossetti.
For the better part of forty years, Edith Sitwell's poetry has been neglected by critics. But born into a family of privileged eccentrics, Edith Sitwell was highly regarded by her contemporaries: the great writers and artists of the day who attended her unlikely London literary salon. Her quips and anecdotes were legendary and her works like English Eccentrics confirmed her comic genius, while later she established herself as the quintessential poet of the Blitz. This masterly biography, meticulously researched and drawing on many previously unseen letters, firmly places Edith Sitwell in the literary tradition to which she belongs.
Eccentricity exists particularly in the English, states Dame Edith Sitwell, because of “that peculiar and satisfactory knowledge of infallibility that is the hallmark and the birthright of the British nation.” Originally published in 1933, The English Eccentrics has lost none of its vitality and wit. We find hermits, quacks, mariners, indefatigable travelers, and men of learning. We meet the amphibious Lord Rokeby, whose beard reached his knees and who seldom left his bath; the irascible Captain Thicknesses, who left his right hand, to be cut off after his death, to his son Lord Audley; and Curricle Coats, the Gifted Amateur, whose suit was sewn with diamonds and whose every performance ended in uproar. This is a glorious gallery of the extremes of human nature, portrayed with humor, sympathy, knowledge, and love.
No hive can tolerate two Queens. In the fatal clash between the Protestant Queen of England and the Catholic Queen of Scots, many were determined that 'The death of Mary is the life of Elizabeth'. In this moving chronicle a modern poet magnificently recaptures the splendid colour and sordid intrigue of the most spectacular period of history in Britain. "Dame Edith Sitwell is the catalyst of poetry and history. She is able in this tired, utility second Elizabethan age to bring freshness to the English language worth of the first." -The Times
Author: Allan Pero
Release Date: 2017
Genre: Literary Criticism
In this first full-length assessment of Edith Sitwell to appear in forty-five years, the contributors argue strongly to establish Sitwell firmly in the center of British modernism. The essays here trace her many achievements in poetry, autobiography, novel writing, criticism, and avant-garde art and performance to analyze the ways in which her literary production and social networks fostered an outpouring of iconoclastic creativity and to suggest new ways of understanding the English interwar arts culture.
Dame Edith Sitwell died while this autobiography was in the course of printing. One of the last acts of her life was to approve the 'specimen page' from the printer. She did not live to correct her proofs and what, if any, changes she might have made is a matter for conjecture. The book, as she wrote it, must now stand as the last prose work to come from a great writer of the last century and a wise, witty and compassionate woman. 'I trust', she wrote, 'that I have hurt nobody.' Dame Edith was much more than one of the leading English poets of her lifetime. Long, long before the age of television introduced the synthetic, professional 'personality', she was a personality without the inverted commas, and thus became a familiar figure to a public far wider than the readership of her poetry, criticism and essays. With her remarkable brothers, she stood for certain important and lasting I qualities in the artistic life of the nation-for the war against philistinism, for a progressive outlook that in its day seemed, and was, rebellious, and yet for a spirit of continuity and tradition in art that has become apparent to the layman only in the perspective of time. This sense of tradition and respect for the past was by no means incompatible with a degree of eccentricity-which gives Taken Care Of its remarkable and unique flavour.
Author: Victoria Glendinning
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release Date: 2013-05-16
Genre: Poets, English
Her looks attracted Cecil Beaton and the principal painters of the day. Among her friends were Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, and Gertrude Stein. She rebuffed Wyndham Lewis and ardently loved the temperamental Russian painter, Pavel Tchelitchew. The 1930s she spent in penury, writing fiction, biography and verse. Only when Yeats hailed her as 'a major poet' did her work reach a wider audience, whereupon Edith Sitwell set off to conquer New York and Hollywood. Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize and James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, this is the definitive portrait of a spontaneous, gallant, yet tragically insecure woman. 'The excellence of Mrs Glendinning's book is that it remains wise and balanced while never sacrificing critical edge... It's hard to imagine a life of Edith Sitwell that could surpass it.' John Carey, "Sunday Times"
Primarily a literary history, Women, Modernism and British Poetry, 1910-1939 provides a timely discussion of individual women poets who have become, or are becoming, well-known as their works are reprinted but about whom little has yet been written. This volume recognizes the contributions, overlooked previously, of such British poets as Anna Wickham, Nancy Cunard, Edith Sitwell, Mina Loy, Charlotte Mew, May Sinclair, Vita Sackville-West and Sylvia Townsend Warner; and the impact of such American poets as H.D., Amy Lowell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marianne Moore and Laura Riding on literary practice in Britain. This book primarily maps the poetry scene in Britain but identifies the significance of the network of writers between London, New York and Paris. It assesses women's participation in the diversity of modernist developments which include avant-garde experiments, quiet, but subtly challenging, formalism and assertive 'new woman' voices. It not only chronicles women's poetry but also their publications and involvement in running presses, bookshops and writing criticism. Although historically situated, it is written from the perspective of contemporary debates concerning the interface of gender and modernism. The author argues that a cohering aesthetic of the poetry is a denial of femininity through various evasions of gendered identity such as masking, male and female impersonations and the rupturing of realist modes.
Sitwell's Fanfare for Elizabeth is a striking account of love, betrayal, and religion as it unfolds in the court of King Henry VIII. Sitwell navigates elegantly through the capricious nature both of Henry's court, and his love life. The youthful hardships of little Elizabeth are played out against the backdrop of the great drama of Henry's struggles with the Pope, and his six wives. Charming in style, Fanfare for Elizabeth ends on a vignette of Elizabeth in her early teens, still oblivious to the grandeur she will ultimately inherit.
A complete anthology of the British modernist's poetic works explores the ways in which her writing challenged formal conventionalism and class issues, in a volume that includes Façade, Clowns' Houses, and Gold Coast Customs.
Author: Jane Dowson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2005-05-19
Genre: Literary Criticism
A History of Twentieth-Century British Women's Poetry offers a detailed evaluative documentary record of the publications, activities and achievements of a lively but undervalued literary community. Part literary history, part critical analysis, this comprehensive survey is organised into three historical periods (1900–1945, 1945–1980 and 1980–2000), each part introduced by a comprehensive overview in which the emerging names are mapped against cultural, literary and poetic events and trends. Individual essays reflect and stimulate continuing debates about the nature of women's poetry and cover a range of canonical and lesser-known, but significant, poets. They offer new critical approaches to reading poems that engage with, for example, war, domesticity, modernism, linguistic innovation, place, the dramatic monologue, postmodernism and the lyric. A chronology and detailed bibliography of primary and secondary sources covering over 200 writers make this an invaluable reference source for scholars and students of British poetry and women's writing.
Author: Juliet Nicolson
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
Release Date: 2008-05-12
A “sparkling social history” that brings the twilight of the Edwardian era to life (Entertainment Weekly). The Perfect Summer chronicles a glorious English summer just over a century ago, when the world was on the cusp of irrevocable change. That summer of 1911, a new king was crowned and the aristocracy was at play, bounding from one house party to the next. But perfection was not for all. Cracks in the social fabric were showing. The country was brought to a standstill by industrial strikes. Temperatures rose steadily to more than 100 degrees; by August, deaths from heatstroke were too many for newspapers to report. Drawing on material from intimate and rarely seen sources and narrated from the viewpoints of a series of exceptional individuals—among them a debutante, a choirboy, a politician, a trade unionist, a butler, and the queen—The Perfect Summer is a vividly rendered glimpse of a bygone time and place. “Brimming with delectable information and little-known facts . . . manages to describe every stratum of English society . . . Where Nicolson is especially good, however, is with the royals and the aristocracy, whose country estates, salons, entertainments, and affairs—discreet and indiscreet—she describes with accuracy and humor.” —The Providence Journal “A hugely interesting portrait of a society teetering on a precipice both nationally and internationally . . . As page turning as a novel.” —Joanna Trollope
Where were the women of the so-called `Auden Generation'?During this era of rapidly changing gender roles,social values and world politics,women produced a rich variety of poetry.But until now their work has largely been lost or ignored;in Women's Poetry of the 1930s Jane Dowson finally redresses the balance and recovers women's place in the literary history of the interwar years.This comprehensive and beautifully edited collection includes: *Previously uncollected poems by authors such as Winifred Holtby and Naomi Mitchison *Poems which are now out of print,such as those by Vita Sackville-West and Frances Cornford *Poems previously neglected by poets including Ann Ridler and Sylvia Townsend Warner *An extensive critical introduction and individual biographies of each poet Poetry lovers,students and scholars alike will find Women's Poetry of the 1930s an invaluable resource and a collection to treasure.