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:

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.

In this stunning new biography of Vita Sackville-West, Matthew Dennison 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 wide-ranging 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.

Review:

BOOK OF THE YEAR as chosen by:

The Times
Independent
Observer

'Dennison captures both Vita’s irresistible charm and her selfishness. Like his subject, he is a natural storyteller, and his impeccable scholarship never weighs down his lively narrative' Independent

‘Brave man to take on the biography of Vita, and he has brought it off superbly … It studies and reveals this extraordinary woman as well as could possibly be. A fine achievement’ Spectator, Susan Hill

‘Astute and engaging, Dennison looks again at Vita’s extraordinary life and makes a new sort of sense of it … fascinating … an insightful book. The connections between Vita’s childhood, her dispossessions, her sexuality and her writing are compellingly explored. Vita emerges as a complex and interesting character, and far more than a gay icon’ Literary Review

‘Dennison emphasises the desire for solitude that existed in tension with her joyous sensuality and need for love’ Guardian

‘Detailed and fascinating … Dennison shows true admiration for his latest subject … freshly chronicled here for the first time in more than 30 years’ Daily Express

‘Intimate … A splendid biography of a splendid character’ The Lady

'This astute and engaging book looks again at Vita's extraordinary life and makes a new sort of sense of it … Fascinating … Insightful … The connections between Vita's childhood, her dispossession, her sexuality and her writing are compellingly explored. Vita emerges as a complex and interesting character, and far more than a gay icon' Literary Review

‘Comprehensively documents her literary … with evocative portraits of her husband [and lovers] … Dennison’s Vita is convincingly ambivalent and inflammatory, a product of her age’ New Statesman

'This carefully researched book is intelligently and elegantly written … balanced, oratical and confident’ Spectator

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Book Description William Collins. Book Condition: New. 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. Num Pages: 384 pages. BIC Classification: BGL; DSBH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 163 x 240 x 39. Weight in Grams: 746. . 2014. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # KCD0013997

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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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Book Description 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 163mm x 240mm x. Hardcover. 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 .Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 384 pages. 0.746. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007486960

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 16.4 x 24.2 cm. 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 [Url removed], 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 [Url removed]ing 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. Hardback. Bookseller Inventory # MM-41030969

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