Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Remembering... Dame Edith Sitwell

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Writer and critic Edith Sitwell wrote poetry (including Still Falls The Rain, appropriately enough for the day about the London Blitz) for love, but wrote nonfiction (including two studies of Elizabeth I - also entirely appropriate for the day*) for money. Nevertheless, today her poetry is obscure, at best, while her histories maintain the popularity they've had since they were published. That's what love gets you, I suppose...

In Sitwell's case, love also brought her a dose of heartache; when she was 40 she fell in love with the Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew, who was then 29. Whether or not she knew he was gay when she did probably didn't matter, at least not to her heart.

As she got older Dame Edith Sitwell's feuds got feudier, her manner of dress more outlandish, and understandably her legend grew, as no one loves a freaky weirdo like the English. While Edith Sitwell lived - beginning on this day in 1887 - obscurity just would not do; her December 1964 death has given her - and her eccentricity - its rightful place amongst the greats.

*In terms of synergy, September 7th is one of the best days of the year at the Pop Culture Institute.
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