A Matter of Passion: Letters of Bernard Berenson and Clotilde Marghieri

Bernard Berenson, Author University of California Press $0 (286p) ISBN 978-0-520-06527-7
These letters reveal a hidden side of famed art critic Bernenson (1865-1959). He first met Clotilde Marghieri in 1925, when he was in his 60s, married, and she was a budding journalist-novelist in her early 30s, soon to leave her husband's Neapolitan clan to live in her own house on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. They developed a passionate relationship, corresponding between 1927 and 1955, yet their 1100 surviving letters came to light only in 1981 when Marghieri published a selection translated into Italian. The present lively selection, edited by her grandson, reveals two cultured narcissists who idealize each other, pour out their passions but conceal their deeper motives and emotions. Among the visitors to Berenson's hilltop villa outside Florence, briefly profiled here, are Aldous Huxley, Edith Wharton, Alberto Moravia, Roger Fry, Nancy Mitford, Ignazio Silone. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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