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Painted Shadow: A Life of Vivienne Eliot Paperback – 12 Sep 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson Publishing; New edition edition (12 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841196363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841196367
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gertrude on 7 April 2005
Format: Hardcover
This biography gripped me like a novel - I was spinning pages like mad! Cos if you're familiar with the Bloomsbury authors, this book reads like a whole lot of new gossip...
The picture which emerges is not very flattering though - and TS Eliot has a lot to answer for. Vivien is shown to be a tragic, flawed figure whose talent ran to waste partly because she was a woman (and thus denied the academic education enjoyed by her male counterparts) and partly because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is heartbreaking to see how vulnerable Vivien was: an emotional, over-ambitious, weak and naive woman in a world of cold, calculating men.
My only complaint about this book is the repetition I found - for instance, Seymour-Jones often quotes a letter or diary and then paraphrases the same words again in her text... And I don't know how necessary it was for her to tell us every time one of the Eliots had the flu or a cold.... This was pretty tedious and slowed down the narrative significantly.
I also felt the ending was a bit abrupt and over-ruled by Seymour's own evident emotion and feeling for her subject... Though by then we forgive Seymour because we feel so sorry for Vivien and angry with Eliot ourselves.
To be honest, it will be difficult to enjoy Eliot's poetry after reading this book .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very good book which reflects very badly on the treatment of those people with personality problems.

I was shocked that it was so easy to commit people.

Interesting background to some of the poems of Eliot

Good Insight into the unacceptable face society of that time. A great balance to the Downton image.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good and extremely interesting side of her story. One usually reads how much T S Eliot was himself admired by his contemporaries (though I personally hate his poetry and so I was predisposed to dislike him anyway) and this biography is definitely on Vivienne's side (there weren't many). The writing I found ok and as a result I went on to read Seymour-Jones' "A Dangerous Liaison" (about Sartre and de Beauvoir) which I found impossible to read and not because of the subject but because of the tedious style. Strange how this author's writing seemed to vary from book to book.
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By Janice Leavey on 12 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It goes to the heart of Bloomsbury but that world is seen from a different angle - from that of the wife, the muse rather than from the poet's viewpoint. Vivienne is inside the magic circle only because she's Eliot's wife and when he dumps her, Bloomsbury dumps her too. I found the story incredibly sad and moving.
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