Wednesday, 23 January 2013

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West

This, probably Vita Sackville West's best known novel, outlines the end of the life of Lady Slane, from the death of her husband to her own death. It's a novel of great social insight, not just into the life of the rich during the early part of the 20th Century but into the lot of women during that time. It tells of family rivalries and quashed ambitions as well as one elderly woman's intention to do just exactly what she wants to do during her widowhood.

Not surprisingly for someone who was also a garden designer, Vita Sackville West had a great eye for nature too:

She remembered how, crossing the Persian desert with Henry, their cart had been escorted by flocks of butterflies, white and yellow, which danced on either side and overhead and all around them..... and remembered thinking this was something like her own life, following Henry Holland like the sun, but now and then moving into a cloud of butterflies which were her own irrelevant thoughts

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West originally published 1931, republished by Virago Modern Classics

4 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Love the excerpt! Beautifully writen and very descriptive. Hope you're having a gerat Wednesday!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great works, in a time reminding me of To The Lighthouse and The Waves. Those unforgettable inner talks...

Caroline Gill said...

What a wonderful quotation! I spent part of my childhood in Kent, not far from Knole and Sissinghurst.

Poetry24 said...

Thanks for sharing this passage, Juliet. Quite beautiful.