Violet: The Story of the Irrepressible Violet Hunt and Her Circle of Lovers and Friends--Ford Madox Ford, H.G. Wells, Somerset

Barbara Belford, Author Simon & Schuster $22.45 (351p) ISBN 978-0-671-64351-5
The subtitle aptly describes Columbia University journalism professor Belford's biography of British novelist Violet Hunt (1862-1942). The daughter of a landscape artist and a writer, she came of age among the Pre-Raphaelites, her way strewn with literary plenipotentiaries: her diary, begun when she was 14, features such family friends as John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde. Hunt, called by one crony ``a woman made for irregular situations,'' was drawn by her love of flirtation and intrigue into an affair at 22 with George Boughton, married and 30 years her senior. Diaries discovered by Belford fill in details of her painful affair with Oswald Crawfurdsp ok.g , from whom she evidently contracted syphilis. The biography deftly handles her most important relationship--with Ford Madox Ford--and her contradictory desire for sexual freedom and respectability. While giving Hunt her due as a writer (she wrote 17 novels and many short stories), Belford rightly concentrates on her subject's zest for unconventional love and life. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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