Vita and Virginia met in December of 1922, and not long after they begun a friendship, that turned into an intimacy at times sexual, but most of the time not that would last until Virginia s suicide in 1941.
Their letters to each other bear witness to this intimacy Here they share everyday events, thoughts on writing, on books their own and others , but also a longing for the other There s a case to be made that what Vita and Virginia felt for each other transcended the normal affair one would have, and many of those affairs Vita ended up having with other women while she know Virginia Theirs was not a fascination, only, of bodies or sexual desire, it was also a fascination with the other, as a Woman, an Artist and a mind.
Virginia seems fascinated with Vitas self assurance, her dominance, and her womanliness And also, the foreword suggest, a craving for Vitas maternal instinct, as Virginia had grown up largely without a mother Vita, on the other hand, seems fascinated with Virginia The Writer, the Artist and the genius, as well as the childlike aspect of her It was, at times, perhaps, a game of dominance and compliance At least they seem to desire something from the other, that goes beyond the physical and beyond being in love Which might also explain why, although Vita had other affairs with other women, Virginia was never abandoned Their letters showcase the intelligence, wit and humour of each lady, as well as their literary prowess Virginia especially seems to be able to peer through the letters and into Vitas inner thoughts Their letters are always a delight, and often moving, touching and simply beautiful I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone I just miss you, in a quite desperate human way It is incredible how essential to me you have become I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things Damn you, spoilt creature I shan t make you love me any the by giving myself away like this But oh my dear, I can t be clever and stand offish with you i love you too much for that Too truly You have no idea how stand offish I can be with people I don t love I have brought it to a fine art But you have broken down my defences And I don t really resent it But these letters also show us a deep love and appreciation of the other They marked and formed each other in a myriad of ways And Virginia ends up writing Orlando a story about Vita Vita who seemed, all her life, to struggle with the fact of being woman, which meant she could never inherit her family s estate, Knole, which instead went to her uncle In Orlando Virginia rights that wrong, by making Orlando first a man and then a woman, thereby giving Vita in fiction, what she could not gain in real life.
Vita, so than Virginia, seemed to struggle with sexuality and gender Both of them seemed to exist outside of what was the norm, but especially Vita Vita, whose bisexuality was far from accepted by society, and who felt the shame of being a woman in that her inheritance had been taken from her This struggle between the feminine and masculine might have obscured the real Vita, the one that could have gotten to the depths of Virginia Both Vita and her husband, Harold Nicholson, had affairs with both men and women, and didn t seem to mind much when the other found someone new Harold, at one point, writes to Virginia I am glad that Vita has come under an influence so stimulating and so sane You need never worry about my having any feelings except a longing that Vita s life should be as rich and sincere as possible I loathe jealousy as I loathe all forms of disease Their love was progressive, as, I think, was the love between Virginia and Vita It seemed to transcend whatever got between then, be it other women or disagreements Theirs seems to be a deep, devoted love Many of their letters bear the mark of their longing, sometimes physical, sometimes just a longing of the mind of the other As much as they were fascinated with particular aspects of the other The Woman, The Artist, The Genius they also simply loved each other deeply and seemed to need each other in a very human way I certainly wish I someday found a love like theirs Although Vita is perhaps a slightly bad bisexual influence, because she makes having affairs seem like such a ROMANTIC and FUN thing I want to go out and fall in love with several women shamelessly too.
Oh my, I hardly have words for this It was an extremely exquisit pleasure to take a peek at their lives through the letters while constantly feeling a little like a voyeur, reading words only meant for one other person and I feel so much richer for their experiences.
I wish they had been able to include of Virginia s letters the fact that they often printed merely a handful of lines made me sad and was rather frustrating, though I understand of course, that these were mainly Vita s letters I do hope, however, to one day read their complete correspondence as far as it s available at least because I admire and adore their relationship than anything It seems like such a special and unique bond, so much than simply a love affair Their minds shine brightly and eloquently through those letters.
The connection of these two amazing women, the love they shared, their thoughts on each others writings, the struggles for acceptance and inner peace, the fall outs, the all ins.
I borrowed this primarily because of two letters by Vita Sackville West that were excerpted in the Lapham s Quarterly issue on Eros this one to Virginia Woolf and this one to Harold Nicholson Suffice to say they impressed on me greatly.
I d read Orlando A Biography a while ago and enjoyed it without being much moved I m interested to reread it now and see how my perception may have changed I ll be keen to get the corresponding collection of Virginia Woolf s letters too as her responses are only excerpted in this edition I ve also put Portrait of a Marriage Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicolson on hold at my local library one footnote in this book stands out, Harold writing to Virginia, I am glad that Vita has come under an influence so stimulating and so sane You need never worry about my having any feelings except a longing that Vita s life should be as rich and as sincere as possible I loathe jealousy as I loathe all forms of disease p 177 circa January 1927 I ve harboured a long though low key fascination with the literati of this era, the Bloomsbury set and the Cambridge Apostles etc, but always shied from the fannish voyeurism of letters and biographies, but I think I will indulge myself here I devoured this collection There s something deliciously, filthily intimate about letters Both women fascinate and repel and resonate with me deeply I saved the introduction for last and it was very satisfying and also quite terrifying to imagine someone analysing myself like that Probably everyone who meets me deserves a biographer s warning Top luck that my story s not finished yet, then.
As a big Virginia Woolf fan i wanted to read her letters with Vita for a very long time and I was not disappointed I got to experience a very personal and vulnerable side of the author i admire, a human stripped down version of her At times especially at the beginning it feels like a travel book with all of Vita s descriptions of the various countries she resides and while she argues that she cannot communicate real experience, her communications are as real as possible As the letters and their relationship progresses, they both let go of their defenses and surrended to their love for one another When on the 28th of January 1927 Vita leaves London for the second time and she spends the days before her departure with Virginia is enough to defy all their reservations and defenses Vita misses Virginia, she acknowledges how much she loves her and how painful this love affair is,yet she wouldnt choose to live without is had she had the chance When in April 1928 Virginia finishes the writing of Orlando, Vita is filled with fear that now that she is through her book, her love for the real life inspiration will cease as well I won t be fictitious she declares Woolf is anticipating that Vita will stop talking to her once she reads Orlando, which is completely wrong since Vita is completely enchanted by it and loves Virginia all the for it In her letter dated 11th of October 1928 she is lost for words, and confesses that the book has shaken her out of her wits, Virginia is thrilled I only wish their letters during 1934 1936 were preserved some were lost.
The introduction is exceptionally well written and it covers the personalities of the two women, what united and what separated them, what attracted them to each other and how one filled the void in each other s life, so that by the time you read the letters you have all the background information you need as well as insight into their psychological and mental states How each articulates her feelings for the other and why that is based on their past experiences and personalities And in addition to that there is a small introduction in each segment of letters providing background information before one gets to the actual letters At times one feels like they are voyeurists who are reading the journals of two great minds, even better we are following the development of their relationship from a typical acquaintance to admiration for each other s literary talent, their love confessions, their beliefs, fears, dreams, writing Virginia Woolf will always be one of my favorite authors and this publication provides so much insight into who she was and contributes in completing the image of the woman in love and real life behind the artist.
La fin du livre se finit par le suicide de Virginia qui est probablement un des suicides les mieux connus du monde Et pourtant seulement quelques semaines avant sa mort, l auteure anglaise crivait ceci son amie qui lui avait envoy une livre de beurre pour No l en p riode de rationnement Des bombes tombaient pr s de moi bagatelles un avion descendu dans le marais bagatelles des inondations endigu es non, rien vraiment n est de taille tresser une guirlande sur le pi destal digne de ton beurre Un amour des choses simples de la vie, jusqu la fin, jusqu apr s la fin partout dans son oeuvre j ai d renouveler le livre 2 fois et je crois que je vais l acheter, ce n est pas n cessairement qqch qu on veut lire d un trait avec une date limite Look, I am still super annoyed with the editors of this collection, but the letters that are here are great Review to come original Ordered Vita s letters to various people, these letters arrived first You know what sucks Virginia s letters are only excerpted from Who the hell thought THAT was a good plan It s maddening Were there copyright issues Either way LAME Guess I ll have to order VW s letters from the era So lovely and engaging I often get bored with reading other famous people s correspondence, but not with these two It is hard for me, after all, to ever get bored with anything involving Virginia Woolf Letters about life, society, deep and yet changeable love, affairs, pet names, spaniels, oft forgotten husbands they thrill and enchant.