Deceived with Kindness
A Bloomsbury Childhood
By (author) Angelica Garnett
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Deceived with Kindness by Angelica Garnett
Book DescriptionAngelica Garnett may truly be called a child of Bloomsbury. Her Aunt was Virginia Woolf, her mother Vanessa Bell, and her father Duncan Grant, though for many years Angelica believed herself, naturally enough, the daughter of Vanessa's husband Clive. Her childhood homes, Charleston in Sussex and Gordon Square in London, were both centres of Bloomsbury activity, and she grew up surrounded by the most talked-about writers and artists of the day - Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, the Stracheys, Maynard Keynes, David Garnett (whom she later married), and many others. But Deceived with Kindness is also a record of a young girl's particular struggle to achieve independence from that extraordinary and intense milieu as a mature and independent woman. With an honesty that is by degrees agonising and uplifting, the author creates a vibrant, poignant picture of her mother, Vanessa Bell, of her own emergent individuality, and of the Bloomsbury era.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780712662666
(216mm x 135mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Mar-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Angelica Garnett
Unspoken Truth, Hardback (January 2010)
Real life and fiction meet as Angelica Garnett vividly evokes what it is to grow up in the shadow of artists. Her family appear in different guises in the stories, but at the centre of each one is Garnett herself. She is naive and foolish as Bettina, desperately seeking acceptance into the grown-ups circle.
Charleston: Past and Present, Paperback / softback (October 1988)» View all books by Angelica Garnett
An illustrated guide to Charleston, the Sussex farmhouse where Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant provided a gathering place for the Bloomsbury group, which included such literary and artistic luminaries as E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, and Virginia Woolf.
US Kirkus Review » In the mid-1970s, middle-aged Garnett - daughter of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, ex-wife of David Garnett - began to realize that she was living in a "tangled web of repressed emotion" and started work on this half-forgiving, half-bitter memoir. First she sketches in the Stephen family history, the strains and bereavements suffered by daughters Virginia and Vanessa, the formation of Vanessa's strong yet possessive personality ("when it came to love, she bent like a flower under the weight of a humble bee"), and the unconventional menage that took shape: Vanessa's marriage to philandering Clive Bell; her long-term attachment (sexually brief) to fellow-painter Grant, whose homosexual lovers included young David Garnett; and Angelica's birth in 1918. "I was the only person successfully kept in the dark," says Garnett - who grew up believing that Clive Bell (warm yet lightweight) was her father. Vanessa, with "a black hole of impalpable depth" somewhere at the core, was an insecure mother, forcing Angelica to repress her feelings: "I longed for her to want me to be strong and independent, whereas apparently all she desired was to suffocate me with caresses." Less complicated affection came from Aunt Virginia, from reliably stern Uncle Leonard, from grand-fatherly Roger Fry. But then, after the Spanish Civil War death of half-brother Julian, Angelica learned that her real father was kind, charming, yet unfatherly Duncan: "I adored him, but the will to be his daughter was all on my side, and was received with no more than a bland serenity. . . My dream of the perfect father - unrealised - possessed me, and has done so for the rest of my life." And, with all these psychic handicaps, the 19-year-old Angelica was a sitting duck for urbane "bulldozer" David Garnett - whose courtship didn't include the information that he was Vanessa's bygone suitor (rejected) as well as Duncan's bygone lover. ("He knew. . . that he was driving a wedge between Vanessa and myself, one that in fact remained for ever.") This memoir's first half is more descriptive than dramatic, with evocations of Bell-family homes, trips, relatives. And though the later chapters bunch up in revelations, restrained confrontations, and psychoanalytic insights, Garnett herself remains - as she notes herself - a "shadowy" presence here. Still, as a darker complement to Frances Spalding's Vanessa Bell (1983): edgy, thoughtful testimony from one of Bloomsbury's innocent victims. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Angelica Garnett
Angelica Garnett may truly be called a child of Bloomsbury. Her aunt was Virginia Woolf, her mother Vanessa Bell, and her father Duncan Grant, though for many years Angelica believed herself, naturally enough, the daughter of Vanessa's husband Clive. Her childhood homes, Charleston in Sussex and Gordon Square in London, were both centres of Bloomsbury activity, and she grew up surrounded by the most talked-about writers and artists of the day - Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, the Stracheys, Maynard Keynes and many others. In 1942 she married David Garnett, but they later separated. In 1993 she published Deceived with Kindness, an extraordinarily frank memoir about her childhood, which won the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography. She is a painter and has lived in France for many years.
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