Virginia Woolf in 1927 and Vita Sackville-West by William Strang, 1918
A few days after their first meeting, Vita Sackville-West is charmed: “ I simply adore Virginia Woolf, and probably you too. You would be amazed at her charm and personality … Madame Woolf is so simple: and yet, she gives an impression of grandeur. », Marvels Sackville-West with her husband, Harold Nicolson, bisexual and supporter of a free love, like her.
If Sackville-West admits to him the fault of ” to dress atrociouslye “, she does not hide her attraction, due to the” spiritual beauty She sees in Virginia Woolf. ” I’ve rarely been so infatuated with someone, and I think she likes me “, Admits the poet, adding that she has” almost had a stroke When Woolf invited him to her home in Richmond.
In February 1923, after a dinner spent in the company of Virginia Woolf, she noticed how close their two minds were, and was full of praise for the finesse of the one she already loved: ” How right she is when she says that love makes people boring, and the excitement of life lies in “Small transport”, closer to people. »
Vita Sackville-West, like her couple, was used to atypical, even transgressive love in society at the time, but Virginia Woolf, also married, was less so. In his diary, Woolf recognizes in Sackville-West ” a real woman “That she herself has” never been “. A sensation she feels like danger, according to Nigel Nicolson, son of Vita Sackville-West and author of a book on the relationship between Woolf and his mother.
In 1925, Woolf will underline it again by describing ” Vita that shines at this grocer in Sevenoaks … Brilliant pink, a bunch of grapes, a hanging pearl … There is her maturity and her heavy breast: she sails with full sails out on the high seas, while I float and drift in the swamps Woolf laments in his diary. Her ties to Sackville-West will always remain tinged with contempt for herself, when she compares herself to her lover.
Virginia Woolf cannot, however, escape this attraction, and will sublimate it in Orlando, published in 1928, as the two women drifted apart. In 1927, it was Vita Sackville-West who confessed her love to her, most directly: “ I wrote a wonderful love letter for you in the darkest hours of the night, and everything flew away: I simply miss you, in the simplest of human despair. […] This letter is therefore only a moan of pain. You have become essential to my being in an incredible way. »
via Brain Pickings, Open Culture