VITA SACKVILLE-WEST: Selected Writings

Mary Ann Caws, Editor, Nigel Nicolson, Foreword by, Vita Sackville-West, Author , preface by Nigel Nicolson. Palgrave $29.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-312-23760-8

Vita Sackville-West is now largely remembered for her Bloomsbury connections and her love life, as recorded in her son Nigel Nicolson's bestselling Portrait of a Marriage. She was, however, an accomplished novelist, a talented travel writer and a gifted gardener who planned the famous gardens at her home, Sissinghurst, and wrote brilliantly about the joys of gardening. This lightly annotated volume of selected writings, many previously unpublished, the rest long out-of-print, is intended to acquaint the contemporary reader with the range of Sackville-West's literary talents. There are selections from her diaries and from her mother's; samples of correspondence to and from her husband, Harold Nicolson, and her sons; records of her dreams; three short stories; excerpts from three novels; some poetry; and several travel journals. One of these last, taken from the record she kept of a grueling book tour of the United States in 1933, will provide an American audience with a glimpse into the disdain visiting British aristocrats of the time often felt for the accents and manners of their American hosts as well as the drearily familiar anti-Semitism they appeared to pack with their hats. As for the rest, there is not much here likely to spark renewed interest in Vita as a writer. She wrote well and gracefully, often passionately, but her best work has appeared in print and the unpublished pieces Bloomsbury scholar Caws has resurrected reveal little that is new. 22 b&w photos. (July 15)

Forecast:This should be a good backlist title, with slow but steady sales.

Reviewed on: 05/20/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-1-4039-6318-5
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