Download A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney by Natalie Clifford Barney PDF

By Natalie Clifford Barney

Eventually, the writing of 1 of the century's so much infamous lesbians comes in English. notwithstanding top identified for internet hosting the avant garde of Paris for thirty years, Colette, Renee Vivien, Marcel Proust and Gertrude Stein, to say a couple of, she was once additionally a author who challenged the male-dominated literary institution either within the content material and the shape of her paintings. Now we will be able to observe her perspectives at the humans, areas and occasions of that interesting and stimulating period for ourselves. here's a lively translation of Barney's thought-provoking paintings via considered one of Britain's best writers.

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Extra resources for A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney

Example text

One of our classmates was the subject of great admiration because of her long braid of chestnut hair which would coil serpent-like beside her at night. Someone cut off her braid while she slept, but who? Was someone jealous of her? It was we who solved this mystery, but much later and in a most unexpected way. In class we continued to learn cursive handwriting, drawing, singing, deportment and how to curtsey, dancing, horse-riding, composition and French poetry: La Fontaine, Victor Hugo and poems by Racine and Andre Chénier to learn by heart.

Every week after class, during which he would warn her not to try to be "too clever," he would come and take tea with her. I am sorry now that I never met him for all I needed to do in order to see him was push open the door of the small sitting room. But instead I stayed shut up in my room writing letters—and God knows what letters! Later my mother was due to meet my father in London; he preferred that city to Paris where men take second place. Before she left, she entrusted me with a sum of money to be given to Whistler who had promised to do my portrait.

Natalie greatly preferred her mother. Alice was an accomplished portrait painter who had studied with Whistler, and she shaped her daughter's devotion to the arts. Though Barney suggests in her memoirs that she was almost obsessively in love with her mother, the images and almost the words for this emotion are borrowed from Proust. Here, for example, is how Barney remembers waiting up for her mother: Such was the feeling I had for my mother, and when she bent over my bed before she went out to a party, she seemed more beautiful than anything in my dreams; so, instead of going to sleep, I would stay awake, anxiously waiting for her return, for whenever she went away I was afraid something terrible might happen to her.

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