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women's studies
British history

The Rare and the Beautiful: How the Garman Sisters Captured the Heart of Bohemian London

Cressida Connolly.
Publisher Ecco  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5 x 0.85 inches
ISBN 9780060936716
Pages/Publication Date 320/2004
Daedalus Item Code 60585
This item is not available.
Much like the Mitfords, the beautiful, flamboyant, and headstrong Garman sisters took center stage in Bohemian London during the first half of the 20th century, from Kathleen, who carried on a three-decade affair with married American-born sculptor Jacob Epstein, to Mary, who wed the maverick poet Roy Campbell (who later attacked the Bloomsbury group in vicious satire after Mary embarked on an affair with Vita Sackville-West). Cressida Connolly, author of the PEN/MacMillan Prize winner The Happiest Days and daughter of the late Cyril Connolly, offers a group portrait of a band of eccentric siblings who possessed an uncanny ability to turn heads, break hearts, and spark creative genius.

"The Garman family of England's West Midlands was exceptional. Walter, a doctor, and his wife, Marjorie, had nine children between 1898 and 1911, two sons and seven daughters. Each was tall, gorgeous, and unconventional, and several ended up at the epicenter of London's modern art world. In her lively, emotionally engaging, yet analytical family biography, Connolly lavishes the most attention on the invincible and instinctively bohemian Mary and Kathleen as they leave home for London at ages 20 and 18. There, besieged by admirers, Mary soon marries the volatile South African poet Roy Campbell, and Kathleen embarks on a passionate, long-term affair with the married and controversial artist Jason Epstein. But Connolly also portrays generous Helen, sexy Lorna, and their zealously political brother, Douglas. Not to mention all the lovers the Garman siblings attracted and sometimes shared, including Vita Sackville-West, Peggy Guggenheim, and Lucian Freud. Impecunious, exotic, and thrilling, the Garmans could be as ruthless as they were passionate, and they were appallingly neglectful parents, but their joie de vivre was epic, their nonconformity and devotion to art admirable, and their resourcefulness impressive. Connolly's elegantly insightful family portrait, a worthy companion to Virginia Nicholson's Among the Bohemians, raises many still-urgent questions about sexism, creativity, and responsibility."Booklist

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