This meticulously researched and compassionately rendered portrait of Leonard Woolf, the "dark star" of Bloomsbury, is the first to capture his troubled relationship with his wife, his own intellect, and the tumultuous world of artists and eccentrics around him. A man of extremes, Woolf was by turns ferocious and tender, violent and repressed, ...
This meticulously researched and compassionately rendered portrait of Leonard Woolf, the "dark star" of Bloomsbury, is the first to capture his troubled relationship with his wife, his own intellect, and the tumultuous world of artists and eccentrics around him. A man of extremes, Woolf was by turns ferocious and tender, violent and repressed, opinionated and nonjudgmental, always an outsider of sorts within the exceptionally intimate, fractious, and sometimes vicious society of brilliant but troubled friends and lovers. In telling Woolf's story, Victoria Glendinning traces the development of the Bloomsbury circle, bringing to life the group's literary and personal discussions. She also provides an unprecedented account of Woolf's marriage to the legendary Virginia, revealing his undying creative and emotional support for her amid her numerous breakdowns. "Leonard Woolf" is a perceptive and lively biography of a man whose far-reaching influence is long overdue the full appreciation Glendinning provides.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-09-11 Although Leonard Woolf (1880- 1969) was a seminal figure in the Bloomsbury set, he is known today primarily as the devoted caregiver of his wife, Virginia. That his life and career encompassed significant contributions to the literary, political and cultural events of his times will be evident to readers of this exemplary biography, the first to do justice to a complex man empowered by his intellect and the friends he made at Cambridge but professionally hobbled by British anti-Semitism and his decision to put aside his aspirations in deference to his wife's crushing needs and his belief in her genius. Glendinning, noted biographer of Vita Sackville-West, Trollope and others, brings her brilliant critical eye to an appraisal of Woolf's difficult personal life, which began with his father's premature death and the family's fall from middle-class comfort. Because the Woolves (as they were known) had a rich intellectual partnership, Leonard endured their celibate marriage and Virginia's lesbian affairs. Only after Virginia's death did he enjoy a sexually fulfilling relationship, with a married woman, which Glendinning documents through previously unreferenced material. This lucid biography is enhanced by Glendinning's humane and perceptive insight into Woolf's conflicted personality as well as by her assessment of his signal role in the literary flowering and political issues of the early 20th century. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Nov. 11) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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