To wine…

June 17, 2014

COMPLAINT

Oh dear….

June 17, 2014

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violettovita

Have you read this book…

If you haven’t, why not?

It’s a must read. Truly.

Seventeen years before Vita Sackville-West wrote this to her lover Virginia Woolf –

“…I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your undumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it should lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is really just a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any more by giving myself away like this — But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defenses. And I don’t really resent it.”

– she embarked on a passionate affair with writer and socialite Violet Keppel – an affair that was later transformed to fiction by Virginia Woolf in her novel Orlando. The affair, lasting until 1921 when forced separation ended it, is recaptured here in this collection of Violet’s letters – Vita Sackville-West kept all of Violet’s letters, notes and telegrams including those Violet had asked her to destroy. `Violet to Vita’ includes virtually all of them!

“I am in the act of asking myself if I ought to reply to your question? A question furthermore most indiscreet and which merits a sharp reprimand. Reply, don’t reply, reply! Oh to the devil with discretion!

Well, you ask me pointblank why I love you… I love you, Vita, because I’ve fought so hard to win you… I love you, Vita, because you never gave me back my ring. I love you because you have never yielded in anything; I love you because you never capitulate. I love you for your wonderful intelligence, for your literary aspirations, for your unconscious (?) coquetry. I love you because you have the air of doubting nothing! I love in you what is also in me: imagination, the gift for languages, taste, intuition and a host of other things…
I love you, Vita, because I have seen your soul…”

The raw emotion in these letters is truly heartrending. For example this, written in July 1918 –

“What sort of a life can we lead now? Yours, an infamous and degrading lie to the world, officially bound to someone you don’t care for…

I, not caring a damn for anyone but you, utterly lost, miserably incomplete, condemned to leading a futile, purposeless existence, which no longer holds the smallest attraction for me…

I never thought I would (or could) love like this.”

Or again this –

“I want you for my own, I want to go away with you. I must and will and damn the world and damn the consequences and anyone had better look out for themselves who dares to become an obstacle in my path.”

It’s heartbreaking although unsurprising that these two women never escaped the shackles of their era’s narrow possibilities. That such a beautiful romance should have been crushed by a society unable or unwilling to see that all love is sacred.

A highly recommended read, boys and girls.