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Violet

Violet

(1990)
The Story of the Irrepressible Violet Hunt and Her Circle of Lovers and Friends--Ford Madox Ford, H.G. Wells, Somerset Maugham, and Henry jam
A non fiction book by

 
Publisher's Weekly
The subtitle aptly describes Columbia University journalism professor Belford's biography of British novelist Violet Hunt (1862-1942). The daughter of a landscape artist and a writer, she came of age among the Pre-Raphaelites, her way strewn with literary plenipotentiaries: her diary, begun when she was 14, features such family friends as John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde. Hunt, called by one crony ''a woman made for irregular situations,'' was drawn by her love of flirtation and intrigue into an affair at 22 with George Boughton, married and 30 years her senior. Diaries discovered by Belford fill in details of her painful affair with Oswald Crawfurdsp ok.g , from whom she evidently contracted syphilis. The biography deftly handles her most important relationship--with Ford Madox Ford--and her contradictory desire for sexual freedom and respectability. While giving Hunt her due as a writer (she wrote 17 novels and many short stories), Belford rightly concentrates on her subject's zest for unconventional love and life.

Library Journal
The child of a painter and a novelist, Violet Hunt considered herself a daughter of Pre-Raphaelitism. In this first full account of her life, Belford (journalism, Columbia) chronicles her social legacy and literary career, drawing on unpublished diaries and papers to present a vibrant and scheming Violet propelled by intense literary and sexual ambitions. A connoisseur of gossip and scandal whose intimate circle of friends included Wells, James, Maugham, Arnold Bennett, Rebecca West, Dorothy Richardson, and Ford Madox Ford, Violet is most fully revealed in the descriptions of gatherings of the London literati at South Lodge. Though some of Belford's colloquialisms are regrettable--i.e., the South Lodge group ''partied'' all night; Violet's attitude in old age is ''bitchy''--the autobiographical elements of Hunt's novels and other writings are analyzed with depth and sensitivity.--Susanna Bartmann Pathak, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

 
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