Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West

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9780007486960: Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West is perhaps best known as the creator, with her husband Harold Nicolson, of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, now the most visited gardens in Britain. In a career spanning more than forty years, she also made her mark as a prolific and accomplished writer. She was an award-winning poet, a best-selling novelist, a biographer, a travel writer and a journalist with a huge and devoted following. Images of Vita - striking, poised, aristocratic, and intellectual - remain iconic even now. Yet these public images do not tell all. Behind the mask another, more complicated Vita lay. Here, in the first biography to be written for thirty years, Matthew Dennison reveals a renegade, brave and charismatic woman: from a lonely childhood of immense privilege in her beloved family house Knole (which she, as a woman, could never inherit), to a celebrated and affectionate marriage which was nevertheless mutually 'open' and strewn with passionate homosexual affairs (in Vita's case, most famously with Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis); from the hubbub of jewel-encrusted parties at Buckingham Palace, to the solace Vita found in nature and gardening and the eventual seclusion of her tower at Sissinghurst. Drawing on sources from archives across the globe as well as Vita's own prolific written output, Dennison traces the inspiration, triumphs and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. Devoted wife, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', reluctant courtier, recluse, lesbian, iconoclast - Dennison deftly weaves together the myriad strands of Vita's life to create a revealing and insightful portrait of the woman behind the mask.

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Product Description:

A dazzling new biography of Vita Sackville-West, the 20th century aristocrat, literary celebrity, devoted wife, famous lover of Virginia Woolf, recluse, and iconoclast who defied categorization.

In this stunning new biography of Vita Sackville-West, Matthew Dennison's Behind the Mask traces the triumph and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. His narrative charts a fascinating course from Vita's lonely childhood at Knole, through her affectionate but ‘open' marriage to Harold Nicolson (during which both husband and wife energetically pursued homosexual affairs, Vita most famously with Virginia Woolf), and through Vita's literary successes and disappointments, to the famous gardens the couple created at Sissinghurst. The book tells how, from her privileged world of the aristocracy, Sackville-West brought her penchant for costume, play-acting and rebellion to the artistic vanguard of modern Britain. Dennison is the acclaimed author of many books including a biography of Queen Victoria.
Here, in the first biography to be written of Vita for thirty years, he reveals the whole story and gets behind ‘the beautiful mask' of Vita's public achievements to reveal an often troubled persona which heroically resisted compromise on every level. Drawing on wideranging sources and the extensive letters that sustained her marriage, this is a compelling story of love, loss and jealousy, of high-life and low points, of binding affection and illicit passion – a portrait of an extraordinary, 20th-century life.

About the Author:

Matthew Dennison is the author of the critically acclaimed 'The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter', written with the full assistance of the Royal Archives and published in nine UK editions to date, 'Empress of Rome: The Life of Livia', 'The Twelve Caesars' and 'Queen Victoria'. Described in the Independent as 'one of those rare marvels, a historical biographer whose work has reached the bestseller lists', he is also a regular contributor to Country Life, Telegraph Magazine, the Times and Majesty.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 158 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Aristocrat, literary celebrity, Rose Queen , devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West is perhaps best known as the creator, with her husband Harold Nicolson, of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, now the most visited gardens in Britain. In a career spanning more than forty years, she also made her mark as a prolific and accomplished writer. She was an award-winning poet, a best-selling novelist, a biographer, a travel writer and a journalist with a huge and devoted following. Images of Vita - striking, poised, aristocratic, and intellectual - remain iconic even now. Yet these public images do not tell all. Behind the mask another, more complicated Vita lay.Here, in the first biography to be written for thirty years, Matthew Dennison reveals a renegade, brave and charismatic woman: from a lonely childhood of immense privilege in her beloved family house Knole (which she, as a woman, could never inherit), to a celebrated and affectionate marriage which was nevertheless mutually open and strewn with passionate homosexual affairs (in Vita s case, most famously with Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis); from the hubbub of jewel-encrusted parties at Buckingham Palace, to the solace Vita found in nature and gardening and the eventual seclusion of her tower at Sissinghurst. Drawing on sources from archives across the globe as well as Vita s own prolific written output, Dennison traces the inspiration, triumphs and contradictions of Vita s extraordinary life. Devoted wife, literary celebrity, Rose Queen , reluctant courtier, recluse, lesbian, iconoclast - Dennison deftly weaves together the myriad strands of Vita s life to create a revealing and insightful portrait of the woman behind the mask. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007486960

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 158 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Aristocrat, literary celebrity, Rose Queen , devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West is perhaps best known as the creator, with her husband Harold Nicolson, of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, now the most visited gardens in Britain. In a career spanning more than forty years, she also made her mark as a prolific and accomplished writer. She was an award-winning poet, a best-selling novelist, a biographer, a travel writer and a journalist with a huge and devoted following. Images of Vita - striking, poised, aristocratic, and intellectual - remain iconic even now. Yet these public images do not tell all. Behind the mask another, more complicated Vita lay.Here, in the first biography to be written for thirty years, Matthew Dennison reveals a renegade, brave and charismatic woman: from a lonely childhood of immense privilege in her beloved family house Knole (which she, as a woman, could never inherit), to a celebrated and affectionate marriage which was nevertheless mutually open and strewn with passionate homosexual affairs (in Vita s case, most famously with Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis); from the hubbub of jewel-encrusted parties at Buckingham Palace, to the solace Vita found in nature and gardening and the eventual seclusion of her tower at Sissinghurst. Drawing on sources from archives across the globe as well as Vita s own prolific written output, Dennison traces the inspiration, triumphs and contradictions of Vita s extraordinary life. Devoted wife, literary celebrity, Rose Queen , reluctant courtier, recluse, lesbian, iconoclast - Dennison deftly weaves together the myriad strands of Vita s life to create a revealing and insightful portrait of the woman behind the mask. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007486960

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West, Matthew Dennison, Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West is perhaps best known as the creator, with her husband Harold Nicolson, of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, now the most visited gardens in Britain. In a career spanning more than forty years, she also made her mark as a prolific and accomplished writer. She was an award-winning poet, a best-selling novelist, a biographer, a travel writer and a journalist with a huge and devoted following. Images of Vita - striking, poised, aristocratic, and intellectual - remain iconic even now. Yet these public images do not tell all. Behind the mask another, more complicated Vita lay. Here, in the first biography to be written for thirty years, Matthew Dennison reveals a renegade, brave and charismatic woman: from a lonely childhood of immense privilege in her beloved family house Knole (which she, as a woman, could never inherit), to a celebrated and affectionate marriage which was nevertheless mutually 'open' and strewn with passionate homosexual affairs (in Vita's case, most famously with Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis); from the hubbub of jewel-encrusted parties at Buckingham Palace, to the solace Vita found in nature and gardening and the eventual seclusion of her tower at Sissinghurst. Drawing on sources from archives across the globe as well as Vita's own prolific written output, Dennison traces the inspiration, triumphs and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. Devoted wife, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', reluctant courtier, recluse, lesbian, iconoclast - Dennison deftly weaves together the myriad strands of Vita's life to create a revealing and insightful portrait of the woman behind the mask. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007486960

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