A Woman to Know: Vita Sackville-West

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. — Vita, in a letter to Virginia Woolf

(Vita's 1918 portrait by William Strang, image via Wikimedia Commons)


Yes, she's the most famous of Virginia Woolf's girlfriends, and yes, her (scandalous) (tumultuous) open marriage has been memorialized in literature and theater -- but Vita's life constituted more than just her numerous love affairs. Throughout the first part of the 20th century, she worked on her own craft. She penned 12 collections of poetry and 17 novels, all while tending to the trellising vines, sweeping lawns and delicate flowers that make her magnificent Sissinghurst estate gardens a tourist destination even today. As she wrote in her epic poem, "The Land," "Growth is exciting, growth is dynamic and alarming" -- and she was writing about her garden, sure, but she was also writing about her own growth, the creative growth for which she has earned such lasting recognition and acclaim.

P.S. This newsletter will be off for a week because *gasp* *I* (me! myself! Julia!) am off for a week! Back on Monday, July 11 -- in the meantime, send me your recommendations for women to know!

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