No man is alone. The life of one is the life of many men--his family, his friends, his enemies, his ancestors. And not alone is his life compounded of people, but of places and of times, of the unique conjunction, at one moment upon the clock's face, of persons and circumstances by their nature impossible of repetition.
Sir Osbert's autobiography is as much the evocation of the period into which he was born, and in which he matured, as it is a chronicle of his personal activities. The era of which he writes most extensively, the Edwardian, was rich, and to all appearances, completely secure. I recollect a photograph which hung in the schoolroom of my childhood; beneath the head and shoulders of the bearded monarch, a smile edging its way on to his expansive features, was the legend, in large Gothic script--Edward the Peace Maker. It was a world of comfort, of plentitude, of savouring life in its every aspect; a world of the exotic garden. Gardens recur in Sir Osbert's history; even in his school holidays it was their calm luxuriance which most soothed him.
. . . I took more pleasure than ever in the flowers in the garden, the little azure clusters of the bee-hyacinth, carrying with it some strange immanent evocation of Greece and Italy, the large negro-centred blossoms of purple anemone, dusted as it were with charcoal, the contorted branches of japonica, with their cups of coral and freckled gold, all these seemed to have acquired a new beauty.1
I intend to move back and forth at will among the component volumes of Osbert Sitwell's autobiography; but before embarking upon more particular notes, the reader should be apprised of the publication dates, and details such as the origin of the book titles of Left Hand Right Hand!, the collective name of the massive work. It consists of five volumes, four of which constitute the author's life, the fifth, and last, being a collection of biographical essays, portraying people whose lives, at some time impinged upon the author's. The first, The Cruel Month, which since seems to have forgone its earlier title for that of
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Publication information: Book title: Triad of Genius. Contributors: Max Wykes-Joyce - Author. Publisher: P. Owen. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1953. Page number: 218.
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