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Description - Diaries 1939-1972 by Frances Partridge

Now recognised as one of the great British diarists of the century, Partridge was born in Bedford Square, Bloomsbury in 1900, the daughter of a progressive mother and architect father whose friends included Henry James and Arthur Conan Doyle. After studying Moral Sciences and English at Cambridge, she worked in Heywood Hill's Curzon Street bookshop and became part of the Bloomsbury Group, meeting Woolf, the Bells, Roger Fry and Keynes. She met and fell in love with Ralph Partridge who was at the time married to Dora Carrington. After the death of Lytton Strachey, with whom she was in love, Carrington committed suicide. Ralph and Frances married in 1933. During the war they were both committed pacifists and opened their house, Ham Spray, to numerous waifs and strays of war. After it was over they enjoyed the happiest time of their life together, entertaining friends such as E M Forster, Robert Kee and Duncan Grant. This life of great warmth and friendship ended abruptly when Ralph died in 1960. Three years later another tragedy struck when their only son, Burgo, died at the age of 28 from a brain haemorrhage. 'I have utterly lost heart: I want no more of this cruel life,' Frances wrote and yet she made a decision 'to live in the present' and 'to get a better seat on my bicycle'. Despite such enormous suffering, she maintained an astonishing appetite for life, whether for her friends, travelling, botany, or music. Her diaries, written without thought of publication, chronicle a remarkable life. Beautifully written, full of an infectious enthusiasm and unending curiosity, they are utterly riveting and rank amongst the greatest diaries of the century.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781842120620
ISBN-10: 184212062X
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x 45mm)
Pages: 592
Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson History
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 15-Feb-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Diaries 1939-1972 by Frances Partridge

UK Kirkus Review » Unlike those of many of her 'Bloomsbury' contemporaries, the diaries of Frances Partridge were not originally intended for publication. Partridge explains in her foreword that they were written to alleviate the horror and tedium of the Second World War (she had already lived through the First), and they vividly recollect the thrill and the devastation of the war years, with descriptions of air raids, evacuations and rationing. But far more central to the diaries, which range from 1939 up until 1971, is the warm intense relationship that Partridge had with her husband, Ralph. Partridge wanted to set the record straight about this beloved husband who was often belittled by others associated with the 'Bloomsbury Group'. With a notable lack of self-pity and no tendency to sentimentality, Partridge poignantly and honestly describes the loss of first her husband, in 1960, and then her only son Burgo, who was only 28. Writing just after Ralph's death she confesses, 'another discovery I have made: compared to the torture of being on the rack, the deadly fear of losing everything - having lost it, utter desolation is a state of calm. I have nothing to lose, I care about nothing'. However, characteristically, she holds onto the friendships that she and Ralph made, embarking upon a lifetime of travel to keep depression and loss at bay. Considering herself in the final diaries to be old at 70, and now over 100 yeas old, Frances Partridge can include Clive Bell, Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry and Virginia Woolf amongst the many well-known people that she has met and befriended. As well an eminent and talented diarist, she is now the sole surviving link to another, lost, literary era. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Frances Partridge

Frances Partridge was born in Bedford Square in 1900. Family friends included Henry James, Conan Doyle and various members of the Strachey family. She has translated many books and with her husband Ralph edited the Greville Memoirs.

Books By Frances Partridge

Love in Bloomsbury by Frances Partridge
Paperback, March 2014
Pacifist's War by Frances Partridge
Paperback, October 1999