Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Letters cast a new light on famous lesbian affair
Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent, The Observer, Sunday July 13, 2008

Funny, revealing and downright bitchy pen-portraits of the leading figures of the Bloomsbury Group, the key British literary stars of the 1920s and 1930s, have come to light in unpublished correspondence between the poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West (pic left) and an aspiring young writer.

The letters, to novelist Margaret Howard, which are up for sale at the auction house Sotheby's on 17 July and are expected to fetch around £22,000, show the depth of Sackville-West's feeling for Virginia Woolf, with whom she had a long lesbian affair, and the amusement with which the aristocrat viewed the rest of Woolf's intellectual set of friends. Sackville-West, who was the model for Woolf's androgynous, time-travelling heroine Orlando, first began writing to Howard, her 'darling waif-novelist' in 1941, the year of Woolf's suicide.

The letters make it clear that she was deeply moved by the young woman's appreciation of her dead lover's great talent.

1 comment:

LiteraryMinded said...

"Lytton, you are like a dead slug in a well."
Hehe. Thanks for that! I have much interest in Virginia and the Bloomsbury clan. 'Orlando' is an amazing novel.