Vita Sackville-West - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Stories about Vita Sackville-West

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Picture of Vita Sackville-West, author of The Edwardians and All Passion spent; poet and novelist; twentieth century British Literature / English Literature and poetry
Vita Sackville-West
(1892 - 1962)

Category:  English Literature
Born:  March 9, 1892
Knole Castle, Sevenoaks, Kent, England
Died:  June 2, 1962
Sissinghurst, Kent, England
Related authors:
Aphra Behn, Virginia Woolf
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Vita Sackville-West - LIFE STORIES
6/2/1962     The Lives of Vita Sackville-West
On this day in 1962 Vita Sackville-West died. Easy to lose in the glare of one so filmed, written and gossiped about is the fact that Sackville-West was a prolific and commercially successful author. Nonetheless, it is her personal life which continues to claim attention -- the jodhpurs-and-pearls Vita, the bedmate of Virginia Woolf and others, the cross-dressing master gardener of Sissinghurst Castle.
12/14/1640     Aphra Behn, All Women    read it now!
On this day in 1640 Aphra Behn was baptized. The details of her birth and much of her "shady and amorous" life are unclear, but her place in literary history is certain: first epistolary novel, first philosophical novel, and a fifteen-play career which made her the first woman to earn her living by writing. "All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn," wrote Virginia Woolf, "for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds."
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All Passion Spent
Family History
Portrait of a Marriage
by Nigel Nicolson, Vita Sackville-West
biography, letters
The Edwardians
The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf
by Vita Sackville-West, Louise De Salvo (Editor), Mitchell Leaska (Editor)
letters, biography
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A Description of Vita Sackville-West
Find an entry from Woolfe's diary dated 21 December, 1925, which offers the author impressions of her friend and on-and-off-again lover.

"I like her and being with her and the splendour--she shines in the grocer's shop in Sevenoaks with a candle lit radiance, stalking on legs like beech trees, pink glowing, grape clustered, pearl hung. That is the secret of her glamour, I suppose."
Isle of Lesbos: Letters from Vita Sackville-West
Find three letters to Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis. To Woolf, on January 21, 1926:

"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, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn't even feel it. And yet I believe you'll be sensible of a little gap. But you'd clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain...."
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Offers a brief overview of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, planted by Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson in the early 1930s.

"In the first two years of ownership, they made a complete plan of the garden which was never basically altered. Every planting was recorded and carefully dated. Each year after planting, every tree was measured to the inch and recorded. Now more than seventy years later, this couple's vision of a truly English garden is realised and enjoyed every summer by thousands of visitors from around the world, seeing the perfection of the very famous white garden; the profusion of lovely old roses billowing through trees and over walls; the Nuttery carpeted in primroses and polyanthus; the spring bulbs in the Lime Walk known as the Spring Garden; the decorative Wild Garden in the orchard."
Vita Sackville-West
A fan site offers this biography on the author's life, writing, interest, and horticultural accomplishments. Supplemented with a bibliography.

"Victoria Mary Sackville-West aroused strong feelings in those who knew her: either for or against. Although her ardent Latin temperament attracted lifelong admirers, both male and female, her unusual lifestyle and aristocratic manner were the source of some hostility -— and even amusement. The vicissitudes of her private life —- the bizarre flights to 'freedom' with the notorious Violet Trefusis; the consuming relationship with Virginia Woolf which produced Woolf's masterpiece Orlando; the unconventional yet enduring relationship with her husband. Harold Nicolson —- all these have been chronicled many times. Perhaps no private life this past century has been so well documented as that of Vita -— the name by which she is best known. Amidst the turmoil of her personal life, she produced a prodigiously rich and varied body of work. She was, she always stated, a poet first and foremost. And indeed her dozen or so volumes of poetry (some of which also appeared in limited editions) are highly collectable today, such as Chatterton, her first published work printed privately in 1909."
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February 19, 2018
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