11 February 2017

selenak: (Eva Green)
You know, I'm happy there will be a movie version of Eileen Atkins' play VITA AND VIRGINIA, starring Eva Green as Virginia Woolf, and Gemma Atterton as Vita Sackville-West. But you know why I just linked the article about this upcoming movie that's on "The Mary Sue" and not, say, the article in "Variety" or the article in "Hollywood Reporter" on the same subject? Because both of them refer to Vita Sackville-West as a socialite, whereas the Mary Sue calls her, correctly, a novelist. (She also was a poet, biographer and gardener.)

Now I'm aware Vita Sackville-West's books have by and large fallen out of favour by now. In fact, the probably best read of her writings in the last two decades were texts she didn't mean for publication, such as Portrait of a Marriage, her account of her affair with Violet Trefusis and her son Nigel's comments on his parents' marriage, her correspondance with her husband, Harold Nicolson (btw, the Sackville-West/Nicolson marriage is extremely interesting an example of two bisexuals, both more on the gay side of the Kinsey scale but not exclusively, having a decades long intense relationship with each other that after the first few years doesn't involve sex anymore) and of course her correspondance with Virginia Woolf. And there are ample reasons to call Vita a snob. And of course there's a reason why Virginia Woolf's books have become literary canon while Vita Sackville-West's have not. But she was without the shadow of a doubt a very profilic writer, who put a great deal of her time into creating these books. Which is why these "socialite" and "society girl" labels annoy me. (Not to mention that she probably spent far more time stomping around mud-deep in her gardens than going to parties in Belgrave.) I suspect the article writers only heard "aristocrat" and "inspired Orlando" and immediately jumped to the (wrong) cliché of Vita the cheery flapper.

On the bright side of things, I really do want to watch this movie, especially since the Vita/Virginia affair was non-tragic, downright light-hearted, and benefiting both parties, and not-tragic lesbian affairs are still rare in fictionalized reality tales. Also, hooray for the actresses!


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