Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lady Ott

Exciting news from the Guardian (via the Woolf listserv):
A cache of unpublished letters from the novelist Virginia Woolf and scores of first editions inscribed by leading writers and poets of the early 20th century has emerged in the contents of the library of Lady Ottoline Morrell, the society hostess who became one of the most flamboyant, loved and mocked associates of the Bloomsbury group.

The Guardian quotes generously from a letter from Woolf but does not indicate how large this cache might be.

Lady Ott is always interesting and she seems to have been so for many, many interesting people. The caricatures of her in modernist fiction are both cruel and loving: one wants to have had the privilege of going to Garsington and deciding for oneself to mock or simply enjoy the hospitality.

Bertrand Russell’s comment seems to me to capture a kind of sexual frankness that’s very different from anything current today (except perhaps in campus brochures from the Dean’s Office): "For external and accidental reasons I did not have full relations with Ottoline that evening but we agreed to become lovers as soon as possible."

Duly noted.

No comments: