Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vita Sackville-West & the Letter's of Vita & Harold


Hi Sweet Hearts...
Lately, I've been reading. With so many other things that I really need to get accomplished, I should have no time for books. But it seems the more I need to do, the less I want to do it, the more I want to read & play an annoyingly addictive Facebook game called 'Word Tornado'. It's like playing Scrabble on CRACK! {or at least what I imagine crack to be like, lol}

So, how did I come to find out about Vita & Harold one may ask. Through the Circle that is Life, I would answer. Here's the way it worked...I love the movie 'The Hours' which I recently watched again. The character that fascinates me the most is Virginia Woolf. While in LA recently, I wandered into a funky used book store on Santa Monica Blvd & found a Biography on Virginia that I bought & read...again, fascinating. The book talked about many of Virginia's literary works, including 'Mrs. Dalloway' which is so closely linked to the character's in 'The Hours', but also 'Orlando: a Biography', 1st published in 1928 & said to be "the longest and most charming love letter in literature".  It was inspired by one of Virginia's loves...
the married author, poet & aristocrat, Vita Sackville-West.


Who's Vita Sackville-West, we all ask? I didn't know, but I was going to find out. I then read 'Oralndo' which lead me to rent the movie, which prompted me to another BBC mini-series called 'Portrait of a Marriage' which I watched, written from the letters of 'Vita and Harold' which I had to have the book of, which I then read & loved, which brought me to this silly post in the 1st place! {excuse me..is my OCD showing??? lol}

Vita was born Victoria Mary Sackville-West in 1892. The only child of Lionel Edward Sackville-West, 3rd Baron Sackville and his wife Victoria Sackville-West, who were cousins, she was known as "Vita" to distinguish her from her mother. Her ancestral home since 1603, was a 365 room Tudor castle in Kent, England called Knole House. In 1928, because she was female, the then laws prevented Vita from inheriting Knole House on the death of her father. The house passed, with the title, to her uncle. The loss of Knole House would affect her for the rest of her life.

In 1913, Vita married Harold Nicholson, an English diplomat & had two sons. They had a very unconventional marriage, both having affairs, but through their amazing letters to each other over the course of a lifetime, the foundation of true, spiritual love always shines through. Vita had passionate & obsessive relationships with her lovers, but was always fiercely loyal and loving to her husband at the same time. Harold had a remarkable life in his own right being front & center during World War I & II, during the abdication of King Edward VIII & the coronation of King George VI {Queen Elizabeth's Daddy} & even refers to The King's Speech in one of his letters to Vita. Now that's coming full circle, considering 'The King's Speech' is my favorite movie this year! 

{if you've stuck with me this long you should be appaulded & are probably a
history buff just like me, lol}
In 1930 Harold & Vita bought Sissinghurst Castle which had fallen into disrepair & ruin. Having once been owned by Vita's ancestors, it was the perfect place for Vita to try & get over the heartbreak of losing Knoles. Both avid gardeners, together they created what today is considered one of the most amazing gardens in England. Vita died in 1962 & Harold, 3 years later. Their beloved Sissinghurst was left to the National Trust & is one of the most toured Castles in England. Harold & Vita were passionately in love for more then 50 years...
not bad for such an unconventional union.
Moral of the story...
Just because it's an unconventional love, doesn't mean it's not LOVE.

XOXO
vintagesusie

8 comments:

barbara r-g said...

oh my a woman after my own reading habits. i love vita sackville-west and as soon as i saw her name i had to drop by. i loved one of her books i think called "Anatomy of a Marriage" a very vivid book about her marriage and her relationship with Alice Keppel worth the read. thank you for bringing back some memories and i now have to look for the book you mention. history and reading some of my favorite things to spend my time doing. sissinghurst is a another conversation. oh my. love it love it.

Mags said...

So interesting, I have to go to library, perhaps I'll find one of her books :-)

Cameron said...

I find these historical bits utterly fascinating...but alas, have no patience to read for myself...

So, thank you for sharing this! I feel more refined and educated :)

Linda in New Mexico said...

I love the way your mind works. I am slightly interested in English history but have "mania" of my own with links to writers and plays and such. But you are so directed, so completely devoted to this subject. I'm a bit jealous that I wander off to look at something else...losing focus. This was extremely interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and investigations......The Olde Bagg, Linda

Charlene said...

LOVED this post Susie Pearl!!!! Will you bring the book when you come to RT? I'd love to borrow it if you would let me! You have such an adorable way of telling your stories. But, of course you know I'm a huge fan of YOU! HUGS!
Charlene

Pretty Things said...

Those gardens are amazing! I hope one day to make it to Biltmore since it's at least doable from here.

I also find that the more I have on my plate, I occasionally panic and hide in the Girl Cave -- the bedroom -- with a book and a nap. Nothing wrong with recharging at ALL!

julie miller said...

Hi Susie, WOW, you are a dedicated soul when you get transfixed on something! I must say it sounds very interesting too! My daughters and I got to see the King's Speech and thought it was fabulous too, Collin Firth was AMAZING!! This is the only nominated picture I've seen so I can't make any other judgements. My daughter has seen quite a few others and thinks Social Network will win because of it's modern theme--we'll see I guess! Can't wait til Sunday night!! Enjoy, Julie

Anonymous said...

Susie, If you haven't yet read "Peptia" written by Vita. I think it's her best and I have read all her works