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This article is taken from PN Review 115, Volume 23 Number 5, May - June 1997.

Aspects of Garnett Frederic Raphael

The man I was going to see, at an address deep in the Quercyois landscape, was born when Queen Victoria still had another nine years to reign. He knew D.H. Lawrence, before the first world war, and rejected - reluctantly - a seductive overture from Frieda. He played at sea captains with Joseph Conrad - a laundry basket for a ship, sheets for a sail - and he was recruited by H.G. Wells for a barnyard variety of badminton invented by 'the Don Juan of the intellectuals'. He test-drove a speedboat designed by T.E. Lawrence at a time when the latter was seeking to forget Arabia and bury himself in the lower ranks of the RAF. David Garnett - the man in question - had been at Hamspray, Lytton Strachey's country home, when Dora Carrington died after shooting herself; she was heart-broken at Lytton's death and beyond the consolation of her husband, Ralph Partridge, or of any of her occasional lovers, who included Gerald Brenan, Mark Gertler and Garnett himself.

Garnett was also at Charleston Farm, in Suffolk, another of Bloomsbury's epicentres, at Christmas 1918, when Angelica Bell - who grew up to be his second wife - was born. Angelica (from whom Garnett eventually separated after she had given him four daughters) was later to write a bitter account of the deceptive frankness with which the founding fathers, and mothers, of Bloomsbury conducted their own lives and manipulated those of their offspring. She was raised, in ...


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