27 comments on “White Shirt Weekend: Vita

  1. Brilliant post again ! Mrs.Keppel And Her Daughter is quite an interesting book by the superb Diana Souhami which looks at the affair from the viewpoint of Violet Trefusis ( as well as her Mother’s affair with Edward VII)

    • I loved that book – Diana Souhami is a fave of mine, have you seen her book on Gluck? Also excellent. I’ve got her recent one on Edith Cavell on my must read list.

    • I heard ‘the superb” Diana Souhami speaking in London last year and immediately sought out her books (all 12 or more) of them and read every one of them. She is a splendid researcher and a highly intelligent and very readable writer. Her “Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter” presents, as you say, Violet Trefusis’s side of the story. The Nigel Nicholson book presented Violet as the ‘villainess’ who disturbed his parents’ perfect marriage. His father, Harold, is the man “whose determination and understanding saved the marriage”. (A point of view which makes the final scenes in the TV series so painful to any decent white shirt and I suspect to a lot of other women as well…) Diana Souhami’s book is such a marvellous presentation of the hypocrisy of British society of the time in totally accepting Mrs Keppel’s role as the King’s mistress, while the daughter’s love for another woman has to be suppressed at all cost. I would love to hear of reactions to other Diana Souhami books.

  2. Don’t worry about posting this non-opera White Shirt ! McTeer was and still is very handsome and convincing as Vita. I also love these series and have visited Knole and Sissinghurst several times. Especially at Sissinghurst you can still feel the presence of Vita.

  3. Oh the memories. I was not long out when that came on and we were all utterly obsessed in my circle of baby dykes. I still have several biogs of Vita, Violet and of course Vanessa, a Hogarth Press Orlando, and a huge obsession with Sissinghurst! What a lovely wander down memory lane thanks Eyes.

    BTW did you see Janet McTeer in The Honourable Woman the other night? Still a very striking woman! Her turn as Gertie Lawrence in “Daphne” a few years back was also very good!

    • Wow! I return from a choral gig at a church flower festival and find a party going on. :)
      Hello girls – lovely to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. I have The Honourable Woman recorded for the weekend and also found Daphne on YT. Looks as though I need to expand my summer reading list too.
      Cat, you are a Wicked Woman!

      • Oh gosh Eyes you are in for a treat with Daphne, it was just great, fantastic performances and very interesting insights into de Maurier. Enjoy :)

  4. Yeah, the party’s on! We have just woken up down under to your wonderful memory lane “Portrait of a Marriage” blog…What can one say…the book and TV series that woke up the women of the English speaking world. I remember posting CD copies even to Germany where German women were longing to see it…I’ve just watched “Daphne” (again)…beautiful scripting, delicious acting, a bit over the top with the Wagnerian background music….(Tristan and Isolde…etc,) but those great sea shots were marvellous visual metaphors…And the book was great too…Margaret Forster’s. Must read the letters though.

  5. A World Wide White Shirt Women’s Party?
    Diana Souhami’s Gluck I very much enjoyed. I have just started Edith Cavell with Natalie and Romaine on the bench!
    Another version of Vita is Orlando of course, Tilda Swinton anyone?

    • OK girls – you have a convert. No, not in THAT sense ( I saw the light some time ago! ) but I have downloaded 3 Souhami books and am looking forward to my summer reading. Thank you for the tips.

      • Wise choice Eyes :)

        And of course from there there’s Sybille Bedford… Oh choices choices.

        Dr D – oh yes Tilda, though I couldn’t help think of Janet McTeer striding around magnificent creature-ly. BTW I’d love to have French and Saunders take on PoaM…

      • Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these three when you are ready…Her books are written from a heart passionate for equality and gay rights.

    • I am just about to re-read “Natalie and Romaine”….they pay re-reading. I look forward to comparing notes when you have finished it!

  6. A further note on the “superb Diana Souhami”. Her next book is advertised on the Quercus website as being published in late September. Any George Eliot fans on this website? The new book is titled “Gwendolen” and is described as a “bravura re-imagining of the life of Gwendolen Harleth”, that tanalizing heroine of “Daniel Deronda”. If you have not read the Eliot novel, at least enjoy the BBC adaptation. It is a fascinating piece of acting and production. In “Gwendolen” we will find out what happened to the heroine after the last page of Eliot’s story and the novel is described by Quercus as “moving, original and elegant”…can’t wait!

  7. French and Saunders spoof would have been brilliant, but hard to watch the original once the spoof has been seen ! Also Watson and Oliver who seem to love cross dressing a la F & S would be good !

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