Gillian Beer

Endogamous Nesting

Duncan Grant

By

Chatto & Windus 400pp £20 order from our bookshop

This is a mysterious book. Its mystery is suggested in the plainness of its title, Duncan Grant. At the end of more than four hundred pages thronged with people, love affairs, painting, travel and reminiscence surrounding Duncan Grant, he remains a vague figure. Perhaps that is a proper portrait. To his friends and lovers, Grant was infinitely engaging: ‘this darling strange creature so like an animal and so full of charm’ as Bunny Garnett wrote. Few seem to have resisted that charm, although D H Lawrence, with bluster, did so. In previous accounts of Bloomsbury, Grant is always present and admired, yet never quite in focus. Frances Spalding gathers an array of unpublished material – notably David Garnett’s diaries and a mass of Grant’s papers, including letters from a vast range of correspondents. She has discussed him with many of his later friends and admirers, and sets down their accounts with a cautious refusal to interpret that sometimes acts as adverse judgement.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It is one of those nice linguistic ironies that English should have attempted to make sex respectable by clothing… ,
    • 'He was to my mind the father of the idea that journalism – yes, even journalism – can have a moral dimension to it… ,
    • RT : Feeling old, as exhumes a piece I wrote 37 years ago. But a joy to see Kathy O’S there too. Here’s why:… ,
    • 'Enough of his character remains just out of reach for Barnes to relish the challenge of imagining him.' Patrick M… ,
    • RT : I did a thing about the new Penguin Book Of Oulipo for this month’s Literary Review: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,
    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,