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Edith Sitwell: Avant garde poet, English genius

Edith Sitwell: Avant garde poet, English genius [Kindle Edition]

Richard Greene
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Product Description

Book Description

* A brilliant and revealing new biography of the renowned - and controversial - poet Edith Sitwell, out now in paperback

Product Description

Born into a privileged family of eccentrics, Edith Sitwell set out during the years of the Great War to create a life in the arts. A friend of Siegfried Sassoon, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein, she ran an unlikely London literary salon that attracted most of the great writers and artists of the day. Her quips and anecdotes grew legendary, and she established herself as the quintessential poet of the Blitz.

Regarded in her own time as a truly great poet, for the better part of forty years Sitwell's work has been neglected by critics intimidated by her large gestures. This meticulously researched, groundbreaking and brilliant biography allows readers to grasp her poetry anew and to experience its humanity and its beauty, while at the same time turning much of what we have ever learned about modern British poetry on its head.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2325 KB
  • Print Length: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (10 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005KKQ3W4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #212,067 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy tribute 26 Feb 2011
If all you know of Edith Sitwell is a plumby voice on a recording of Facade or the arresting portrait by Wyndham Lewis then buy this book. Sitwell is a fascinating character, and Greene is well established as the editor of her letters and critic of the English literary scene in this period, and writes with authority and wit.
Greene argues that Sitwell has been neglected, perhaps overshadowed by her own persona, and this detailed and scholarly (and entertaining and well-paced)work goes some way to restoring her profile. But this is not a book simply to crusade for her restitution; Greene, whose edition of Graham Greene's letters were warmly received, is a good writer: insightful, engaging and with a fine style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars avant garde poet 17 May 2011
By Rollo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found the book a very informative narrative about an extreemly enigmatic and intriging woman.The author`s attempt to explain Edith Sitwell by family and friends letters and diary comments has only begun to lift the veil to this complex woman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary heroine; expert biographer 17 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Ancient Mariner is endowed with the phrase `He prayeth best, who lovest best.' Equally truthful this reviewer attests, is he writeth best who lovest best. Astonishingly Richard Greene's absorbing biography is the tops, and succeeds despite the fact that Edith Sitwell just wasn't very loveable and on the personal level he's a bit matter-of-fact and could have dug deeper into her loves and sorrows. But he does give Sitwell her just deserts. He censures and praises objectively. He upholds her where support is deserved, as where he defends her gallantly from a particularly misogynistic attack from the poet Geoffrey Grigson. He shows how she bravely overcame setbacks to become one of the foremost poets of the twentieth century in a milieu that was still a man's world, in a book that gets better and better as one reads on.

One does wonder though whether he should have assigned more of Sitwell's letters to the notes, and freed more space to develop his own themes; and why footnotes haven't been used for some of the peripheral characters not profiled in the text. And here and there the outcomes of latent dispositions are frustratingly unexplained, such as a clarification of Rudolf Steiner's `idea of awakening from a mineral sleep.'

There's no doubt that Sitwell had some unpleasant traits: she had an acid tongue and quarrelled regularly; she was stiff and starchy; and she could be snobbish and spiteful even with her own close friends. For instance Greene mentions that she fell out with Nancy Cunard and subsequently hated her; no wonder, for the alluring Nancy had the beauty and social grace Sitwell lacked herself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Who is Edith Sitwell? 22 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well researched and comprehensive life of Edith Sitwell. An excellent introduction to a lesser known 20th century poet. I have enjoyed the book greatly and would recommend it to other poetry and literature fans.
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