Allan Massie

The Great Modernist Dinner

A Night at the Majestic

By

Faber & Faber 384pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

On 18 May 1922, a rich Englishman named Sydney Schiff and his wife Violet (sister of Oscar Wilde’s friend Ada Leverson) gave a supper party at the Hotel Majestic in the Avenue Kléber. It was in honour of Diaghilev and his Ballet Russe, which that evening had performed a new ballet with music by Stravinsky. Among the other guests were Picasso, Joyce and Proust; and it is with some reason that Richard Davenport-Hines calls it ‘the Great Modernist Dinner’.

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