By Natalie Clifford Barney
Ultimately, the writing of 1 of the century's such a lot infamous lesbians comes in English. although most sensible 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 used to be additionally a author who challenged the male-dominated literary institution either within the content material and the shape of her paintings. Now we will notice her perspectives at the humans, locations and occasions of that fascinating and stimulating period for ourselves. here's a lively translation of Barney's thought-provoking paintings by means of one in all Britain's best writers.
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Extra resources for A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney
Interestingly enough, her most personal work—especially her unpublished and privately published work—such as The Woman Who Lives With Me (the prose poem that she used to woo back Renée Vivien after their first rupture) was written in English. But the form she wrote in called for a French audience, for the French were used to reading epigrams and portraits whereas the genre had never succeeded in England beyond dinner party repartee or part of a play's dialogue. In addition, novels with lesbian content had a long history in France, and Barney was familiar with Thoéphile de Gautier's Mlle de Maupin as well as the lesbian characters in the work of such distinguished writers as Balzac and Zola whereas in the United States almost another century would pass before Dickinson was read as a lesbian!
Is it You who has gone away?... Or Me?... or Us? And a sweet sadness came over me, joyous and elating, making me part of You, my fair one, my Flossie... I was almost in tears. Was it You? Was it Me? And my tears filled me with a pleasure more intense than the laughter and gaiety of the couple in front of me: the son of a king and his beloved. They would turn around from time to time, wanting me to share their joy. "No, no, leave me to my dreams. I am happy as I am. " And the road flew past! And I lowered my eyes to the ground.
Well, Renée would have that right had she been faithful herself! To admit that Renée Vivien was perfectly capable of having multiple affairs herself would ruin the tale of how Natalie tried but failed to rescue her from the grip of the ruthless and unattractive Baroness. Natalie tends to emphasize the Baroness's power and tries to turn the reader against her by alluding to her Semitic origins (the Baroness was one of the Rothchilds). Renée is depicted as a helpless pigeon in the grasp of a vulture, but Natalie fails to point out that Renée was the heiress to a dry goods fortune.