The Letters of Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf by Louise DeSalvo and Mitchell Leaska (eds) - review by Piers Paul Read

Piers Paul Read

Lunch Thursday

The Letters of Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf


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The author and explorer, Sir Richard Burton, wrote that once he had understood the appetite of the English for the erotic, his fortune was made. It was unfortunate for his descendants that his widow destroyed his diaries, for now it is equally apparent that the writer who is anxious to provide for his progeny after his death has only to lead a life of sexual depravity, and record it in detail in letters and diaries, for a whole industry to survive his demise.

Harold Nicolson and his wife Vita Sackville-West were most considerate in this respect, leaving behind enough material for several books – Harold Nicolson’s Diaries, his son Nigel’s Portrait of a Marriage, and more recently Victoria Glendinning’s Vita: The Life of V Sackville-West. Now we are presented with the letters of

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