David Garnett Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

David Garnett (GAHR-nuht) was born into a highly gifted literary family, whose members were on familiar terms with the most prominent men of letters of the nineteenth century. His grandfather was Richard Garnett, the superintendent of the British Museum reading room, and his father was the essayist and playwright Edward Garnett (1868-1937), who as a publisher’s reader discovered Joseph Conrad, among others. His mother was Constance Garnett, the well-known translator of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevski, and Ivan Turgenev. In the first volume of his autobiography, The Golden Echo, Garnett describes a marvelous boyhood. When he was five, for example, Conrad taught him seamanship in a laundry basket rigged with sails made of sheets. W. H. Hudson took him birdwatching, Hilaire Belloc made adult jokes with him, George Bernard Shaw watched him at play and dubbed him “a born actor,” Ford Madox Ford took him to tea with Henry James at Rye, and H. G. Wells argued socialism with him. His mother, deeply sympathetic with the Russian revolutionary movement, constantly had as house guests political exiles from Russia.{$S[A]Burke, Leda;Garnett, David}

At the age of twelve Garnett accompanied his mother (who was serving as a secret courier) to wartime Russia, where he rode horses across the steppes, played the balalaika, and in general had a magnificently adventurous time. Such experiences contributed to his being a restless and undisciplined student. To prepare for college entrance exams he crammed at London Tutorial College, where he became involved in a futile cloak-and-dagger plot to free an Indian friend, Vinayak...

(The entire section is 665 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Asher, B. “Vixens and Valuables: The Modern Metamorphoses of Garnett and Vercors.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 10, no. 2 (June, 1983).

Delany, Paul. “Mr. Noon and Modern Paganism.” D. H. Lawrence Review 20, no. 2 (Summer, 1988).

Irwin, W. R. “The Metamorphoses of David Garnett.” P.M.L.A. 73 (September, 1958).

Rosenbaum, S. P., ed. The Bloomsbury Group: A Collection of Memoirs, Commentary, and Criticism. 1975. Rev. ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995.

Ross, Michael. “Ladies and Foxes: D. H. Lawrence, David Garnett, and the Female of the Species.” D. H. Lawrence Review 18, nos. 2/3 (Summer/Fall, 1986).

Swinnerton, Frank. The Georgian Literary Scene: A Panorama. London: Heinemann, 1935.