Uncommon Arrangements (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Ottoline Morrell was the most famous literary hostess in England before and during World War I. Her “Thursdays” at her house on Bedford Square in London were matched only by the weekends at Garsington, the country estate where Ottoline and her husband, Philip, entertained some of the most famous artists and writers of the day, including W. B. Yeats, Charlie Chaplin, and T. S. Eliot. D. H. Lawrence parodied Ottoline in the character Hermione in his novel Women in Love (1920), and Aldous Huxley did the same in his novel Crome Yellow (1921). She had an affair with a gardener at Garsington in 1920 (which may have influenced Lawrence’s 1928 Lady Chatterley’s Lover), and another, longer affair with the brilliant philosopher Bertrand Russell, author of Principia Mathematica (1910-1913). Her husband was not idle: He propositioned the novelist Virginia Woolf, among others, and in March of 1917 announced to his wife that he had not one but two pregnant mistresses on his busy hands.
The story of the Morrells is just one of seven fascinating narratives Katie Roiphe weaves together in Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles, 1910-1939. Her focus is less the scandals and the sexual adventures of these couplesand the triangles of various sizes and configurations they all maintainedthan their attempts to forge something new, marriage based on equality, freedom, and honesty....
(The entire section is 1573 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Booklist 103, nos. 9/10 (June 1, 2007): 28.
The Christian Science Monitor, July 10, 2007, p. 13.
The Gazette, August 18, 2007, p. J5.
International Herald Tribune, June 23, 2007, p. 15.
Kirkus Reviews 75, no. 8 (April 15, 2007): 378-379.
Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2007, p. E4.
The New York Times 156 (July 24, 2007): E7.
The New York Times Book Review 156 (June 24, 2007): 11.
People 68, no. 6 (August 6, 2007): 46.
The Wall Street Journal 250, no. 5 (July 7, 2007): P9.
(The entire section is 53 words.)