cover image Splendours and Miseries: A Life of Sacheverell Sitwell

Splendours and Miseries: A Life of Sacheverell Sitwell

Sarah Bradford. Farrar Straus Giroux, $35 (486pp) ISBN 978-0-374-26789-6

English poet Sacheverell Sitwell (1897-1988) who also wrote art criticism, travel books and memoirs, was a member of an aristocratic family and the younger brother of fellow writers Edith and Osbert. In this heavily footnoted scholarly study, which is of interest primarily to specialists, Bradford, whose biographical works include King George IV , draws on interviews and family papers to trace a life that was defined by creative endeavor and financial strife. United in their early 20s by a shared antipathy for popular culture, Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell wrote innovative poetry and sought to establish a new literary and artistic sensibility. Sacheverell's marriage to Canadian Georgia Doble and Osbert's longstanding love affair with David Horner shattered the siblings' unity, although Edith continued to promote Sacheverell's poetry. The trio, who were engaged in a decades-long financial struggle against their miserly and eccentric father, feuded bitterly among themselves over the divison of his estate after his death. Photos. (Dec.)