Passionate,beautiful and Ever an Outsider

By Lively, Penelope | Daily Mail (London), May 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Passionate,beautiful and Ever an Outsider


Lively, Penelope, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: PENELOPE LIVELY

THROUGHOUT this compelling biography, Selina Hastings provides glimpses of her subject through the eyes of those who knew her.

'No sense of humour, and is desperately intense and serious', 'Rosamond wore her beauty modestly and with humour', '[one for whom] the personal life is the beall and end-all', 'a big, tall woman with fair hair and a strikingly large face and long neck', 'like a gorgeous peach with hoarfrost on its head', 'a crashing snob', 'insatiably vain', 'egomania'.

And, in a sad coda from Anita Brookner at the end of Rosamond's life: 'a woman sitting alone, inconsolable.' The views are sometimes conflicting, but there emerges from them and from the author's own fair but firm interpretation of the life - a picture of a woman who is both tragic and exasperating. Her own worst enemy, you find yourself muttering. But actually, the enemy was her looks. Beauty can indeed be a poisoned chalice.

She dazzled men, apparently. But at the same time she was diffident, always felt herself to be an outsider,

craved love and affection. And as for the effect of all this on her writing well, if ever the life is reflected in the work, surely Rosamond Lehmann is the prime example.

At her best - Dusty Answer, The Weather In The Streets - she writes of betrayed passion with devastating effect. Women readers wrote: This is my story exactly.' BUT it was also Rosamond's story, from her rejection by a young man in her Cambridge days until the terrible saga of her nineyear affair with Cecil Day Lewis and his eventual abandonment of her.

Two husbands, several lovers; spells of ecstatic happiness, years of discontent and insecurity. 'Being in love was a vocation,' says her biographer. And from it sprang some of the most deeply felt fiction of the last century. She became a bestseller and celebrity with her first book, aged 26, and was propelled into the centre of the literary life of the day - feted and admired.

But there were reservations in some quarters - her work always had its detractors, seen as slushy, romantic, 'a sea of toasted marshmallow'.

Selina Hastings is a bracing critic of the novels, acknowledging deficiencies but pointing to their great strengths by way of accuracy, immediacy, masterly construction.

And their powerful emotional charge, which overrides such irritations as the author's infatuation with the upper classes and the appalling moral unsoundness of her male heroes.

Interestingly, it seems that she did not see them thus herself - she saw her handsome, selfish betrayers as muddled rather than callous, victims in some way of their own privileged circumstances. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Passionate,beautiful and Ever an Outsider
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.