Miranda Seymour

The Black Underwear was a Practical Choice

Painted Shadow: a Life of Vivienne Eliot

By

Constable 682pp £20 order from our bookshop

‘We are all lonely wanderers in a very barren land,’ Ottoline Morrell wrote in her private journal in the autumn of 1919. She was feeling miserable after packing up the furniture of the ‘darling old house’ in Bedford Square, which was being put up for sale. Her comment derived, however, from a dinner she had just attended with the couple she had come to regard as her dearest friends, Tom and Vivienne Eliot. In 1919, the Eliots had been married for four years and The Waste Land (which might have been the inspiration for Ottoline’s comment) had not yet been written. Carole Seymour-Jones’s deeply felt biography demonstrates how well that reflection already applied to both members of this unhappy partnership.

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.'… ,