Rosamond Lehmann: A Life Hardcover – 6 Jun 2002
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"I can think of few biographies that are as unputdownable as a novel, but Selina Hastings has produced one: fluidly written, witty, detached yet utterly gripping-deeply touching: a triumph of the biographer's art" (Spectator)
"So intelligently written that you linger over the phrasing, her account blends wit, mischief, gossip, acuity and admiration-shrewd, relaxed, understanding, stylish and not to be missed" (Sunday Times)
A triumph of the biographer's art, this lively, perceptive and beautifully handled life, by the acclaimed author of Evelyn Waugh, is based on interviews and a large collection of personal letters belonging to Rosamond Lehmann, never seen before or published.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I now know that Rosamond Lehmann was born the day after Queen Victoria's funeral; that she was a novelist; that her love-life was eventful and a bit of a mess; and that she had endearing qualities which made up for a rather alarming egotism. She was also very beautiful. For much of her life she was under the influence of the atheist/agnostic culture of the Bloomsbury Group, but later became deeply involved in spiritualism.
It would be nice if publishers could be a bit more generous with photographs. The ones included are fascinating - in particular Rosamond on a motorbike sandwiched between one of her husbands and his gay best friend - but one would like to be able to put a face to every significant character.
I am unlikely to rush out and buy the collected works. I finished this book with only the mildest inclination to read any of Rosamond's purple prose, but with my veneration for her biographer absolutely intact.
I hadn't realised that Miss Lehmann died as recently (relatively speaking) as 1990 or that she lived until she was 90. Nor did I realise, until I read the Afterword, that her biographer, Selina Hastings, knew her as a friend. This goes some way to explaining the depth of detail about Rosamond Lehmann's feelings, which is what makes this biography so special. Even if you don't like her at times, she seems like someone you know quite well.
It's long and closely printed but an easy read - an engaging insight into a life led to the full, with all its joys, disappointments, and grief. From her early childhood with her sisters and brother John, with whom she maintained a close though sometimes stormy relationship throughout her life, through her days at Cambridge, to the loneliness of her last years, the book describes the ups and downs of her marriages, her affairs, and her friendships. Always demanding and possessive, she eventually stifled the love of many she held most dear but she nevertheless maintained close friendships with numerous well-known personalities. At times it seemed as if she was an inveterate name-dropper, but she knew many of those mentioned well enough to spend evenings and weekends with them or they with her and was often influenced by their beliefs and disbeliefs.Read more ›