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SITWELL Edith - Autograph Letter Signed 1964 reflecting on her feuds

  • £110.00

Edith SITWELL (1887-1964)

Autograph Letter Signed (“Edith Sitwell”) to “Dear Mrs. Allen”, thanking her for flowers and mince pies and commenting on some of her long-running feuds.
3½ pages 8vo, Bryther House, Hampstead, 17 November 1964. 
Really, you and Mr. Allen are two of the kindest people in the world. I do appreciate it.
Thank you so much for that lovely winter-bouquet, which seems as if summer were hiding in it; and for the delicious mince-pies, and cake. (I lunched off mince-pies yesterday).
How much I laughed at the sentence passed on poor Mr. Julian Symons. He is only one of a multitude, a frustrated little man called Grigson persecuted me for many years, until Roy Campbell (a great poet: I hope you agree) smacked his face publicly.
These poor little people all think that because Wordsworth wrote:
“Spade! With which Wilkinson
Hath tilled his land”
They must be great poets too, because of their platitudes.
It did Miss Farquhar so much good being with you both the other day. I feel criminal for tiring her as I do.
We long for you and Mr. Allen to come here and see the new house, also Tchelitchew’s wonderful pastel portrait of me, which had been hidden by the old lady I looked after in Paris.
My love to your both, and, of course Sister’s, and so much gratitude for all your great kindness.”
Edith Sitwell was surely one of the greatest of English eccentrics. Her feuds were legendary, and that with Geoffrey Grigson, poet, editor of New Verse in the 1930s, and admirer of W.H. Auden, was one of the most notable. He scorned Sitwell’s poetry, and she responded with aristocratic hauteur. The South African poet Roy Campbell, a champion of Sitwell, did eventually attack Grigson in the street.
The Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew was the great love of Sitwell’s life, a love which remained unconsummated, but which continued for many years as a close, affectionate friendship until they had a fatal falling out. Before that, however, Tchelitchew not only painted several portraits of Sitwell, but, perhaps more importantly, he helped her develop her distinctive style of dress.
Sitwell combined aristocratic disdain with tremendous generosity towards those she liked, and, as we see here, she elicited affection and loyalty from those who were her friends. She died only three weeks after writing this letter.


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