Vita Sackville-West

Love Letters: Vita and Virginia
  • Love Letters: Vita and Virginia

  • '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...'

    At a dinner party in 1922, Virginia Woolf met the renowned author, aristocrat - and sapphist - Vita Sackville-West. Virginia wrote in her diary that she didn't think much of Vita's conversation, but she did think very highly of her legs. It was to be the start of almost twenty years of flirtation, friendship, and literary collaboration. Their correspondence ended only with Virginia's tragic death in 1941.

    Intimate and playful, these selected letters and diary entries allow us to hear these women's constantly changing feelings for each other in their own words. Eavesdrop on the affair that inspired Virginia to write her most fantastical novel, Orlando, and glimpse into their extraordinary lives: from Vita's travels across the globe, to Virginia's parties with the Bloomsbury set; from their shared love of dogs and nature, to their grief at the beginning of the Second World War. Discover a relationship that - even a hundred years later - feels radical and relatable.

    WITH AN ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION FROM ALISON BECHDEL, AUTHOR OF FUN HOME AND CREATOR OF THE BECHDEL TEST.

Vita Sackville-West was born in 1892 at Knole in Kent, the only child of aristocratic parents. In 1913 she married diplomat Harold Nicolson, with whom she had two sons and travelled extensively before settling at Kent’s Sissinghurst Castle in 1930, where she devoted much of her time to creating its now world-famous garden. Throughout her life Sackville-West had a number of other relationships with both men and women, and her unconventional marriage would later become the subject of a biography written by her son Nigel Nicolson. Though she produced a substantial body of work, amongst which are writings on travel and gardening, Sackville-West is best known for her novels The Edwardians (1930) and All Passion Spent (1931), and for the pastoral poem The Land (1926), which was awarded the prestigious Hawthornden Prize. Sackville-West died on 2 June 1962 at her Sissinghurst home, aged seventy.


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