- Hardcover: 544 pages
- Publisher: Virago; 1st Edition edition (3 Mar. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1860499678
- ISBN-13: 978-1860499678
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.6 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 393,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Edith Sitwell: Avant garde poet, English genius Hardcover – 3 Mar 2011
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* A brilliant and revealing new biography of the renowned - and controversial - poet Edith Sitwell, restoring her to her poper position as one of England leading poets of the 1920s
From the Back Cover
'A wonderful new biography . . . Brilliant, wise, funny and affectionate. It is perfection, actually' Roger Lewis, Daily Mail
A strange combination of kindness and cruelty, courage and duplicity, simplicity and artifice - Edith Sitwell was undoubtedly eccentric and savagely amusing. But Sitwell is a writer who matters - enormously. And as a poet, the most significant events in her life were the poems. It is thirty years since a biography of this important poet last appeared. It is time to look again at Edith Sitwell.
'Sitwell is important: a modernist pioneer; a glorious example of the outsider life well led...This book contains so much that is new - Greene has had access to Sitwell's vast correspondence with the painter Pavel Tchelitchew, with whom she had an unreciprocated, non-physical love affair - and will no doubt be considered definitive' Rachel Cooke, Observer
'Greene has made a convincing case for her peculiar genius. This is excellent, particularly in its analysis of Edith's poetry and her literary relationships'
Sarah Bradford, Literary Review
'Greene takes pains to show us the private Sitwell, her loyalty and sympathy, her gentleness and generosity, her loneliness and vulnerability.' Deborah Longworth, THES
'Glows with loving admiration for her generous spirit, fierce sense of vocation, and shameless, irrepressible quirkiness . . . Richard Greene is an intelligent, sympathetic writer.' Richard Davenport-Hines, Sunday Telegraph
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
But there is also the life: Edith Sitwell was a literary figure on the grand scale, legendary, colourful, unique, a dream subject for a literary biographer. Greene has succeeded (as Victoria Glendinning did too in her earlier biography) in conveying Edith's imperious, witty, snobbish, kind-hearted, hard-working, long-suffering nature, leaving this reader at least full of admiration for what she was and what she achieved. In England she was practically the only female poet of any real stature, a position she achieved not by privilege or by a superior education, but by a combination of intelligence, a poetic gift, and a determination to succeed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Speedy service. Would recommend this interesting book. Fills in many details of Dame Edith's life. Written by a great admirer of her work even though others would not place her in... Read morePublished on 3 Feb. 2013 by Mr. John A. Ferguson
this book is the definative of Dame Edith & her life.
from early troumers of her young life, endevouring to be "Herself" through family dissatisfaction . Read more