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Frances Partridge : The Biography

Chisholm, Anne

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ISBN 10: 0297646737 / ISBN 13: 9780297646730
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2009
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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FRANCES PARTRIDGE The Biography. Anne Chisholm. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 2009 First edition ISBN 9780297646730 402pp Illustrated Hardback. This copy is in FINE condition in a FINE unclipped dustwrapper. Frances Catherine Partridge CBE (née Marshall; 15 March 1900 - 5 February 2004) was a long-lived member of the Bloomsbury Group and a writer, probably best known for the publication of her diaries. She married Ralph Partridge (1894 – 30 November 1960) in 1933. Working at a London bookshop owned by David Garnett and Francis Birrell, she became acquainted with Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington and Ralph Partridge. In 1921, Ralph Partridge had married Dora Carrington, who was in love with Lytton Strachey, a homosexual who was himself more interested in Ralph Partridge. An added complication was Dora Carrington’s intermittent affair with one of Ralph Partridge’s best friends, Gerald Brenan. Carrington, Partridge, and Strachey shared a Wiltshire farm-house, Ham Spray, in a complex triangular relationship that was recorded in the 1995 film Carrington, with Alex Kingston playing Frances. Ralph Partridge now fell in love with Frances. They lived in London during the week and repaired to Ham Spray at weekends. After Dora Carrington committed suicide out of grief in 1932, shortly after Lytton Strachey’s death, Ralph and Frances married on 2 March 1933. They lived happily at Ham Spray until Ralph’s death in 1960. They had one son, (Lytton) Burgo Partridge, who was born in 1935 and named for Strachey. In 1962, Burgo married Henrietta Garnett, daughter of Angelica Garnett and David Garnett, with Henrietta already pregnant with their daughter. Sadly, he died suddenly of heart failure on 7 September 1963, only three weeks after the birth of their baby, Sophie Vanessa. He had already been noticed for his writing ability, and had published one well-received book, A History of Orgies (1958). Frances sold Ham Spray and moved to London. Her writings, her membership of the Bloomsbury circle, her great personal charm and the energy that she retained into extreme old age together ensured for her a degree of celebrity towards the end of her life. She was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Millennium New Year Honours. Ref T7 Size: 402pp. Bookseller Inventory # 006012

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Frances Partridge : The Biography

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London

Publication Date: 2009

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Frances Partridge was one of the great British diarists of the 20th century. She was born in 1900, the daughter of a progressive mother and architect father whose friends included Henry James and Arthur Conan Doyle. After studying Moral Sciences and English at Cambridge, Frances worked in Francis Birrell and Bunny Garnett's bookshop in London. She soon became part of the Bloomsbury group encountering Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, the Bells, Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes, Dora Carrington and Ralph Partridge. She and Ralph fell in love and married in 1933. During the Second World War they were committed pacifists and opened their house, Ham Spray, to numerous waifs and strays of war. After it was over they enjoyed the happiest times of their lives together, entertaining friends such as E.M. Forster, Robert Kee, and Duncan Grant. Frances' life changed abruptly with two sudden and unexpected deaths. Ralph had a heart attack in 1960 and three years later their only son, Burgo, died aged 28 from a brain hemorrhage. However, she survived—indeed, prospered—for another four decades, showing an astonishing appetite for life. Her diaries chronicle her life from the 1930s onwards. Their publication brought her recognition and acclaim, and earned her the right to be seen not as a minor character on the Bloomsbury stage but standing at the center of her own.

About the Author:

Anne Chisholm is the author of Faces of Hiroshima and co-author of Beaverbrook: A Life.

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