Advanced Search

Sackville-West, Vita.

ARCHIVE: Manuscript archive.

Archive

Vita Sackville-West
Contents
Manuscripts 2
From Violet Trefusis's collection of Vita Sackville-West material 15
Inscribed by Lady Sackville 15
Photographs 15
Manuscripts
  1. French grammar and literature. Manuscript notes, as well as copied and perhaps some original poems, in French, in a composition book, ca. 40 pp. used. A loose leaf, pencil poem in French, both sides, loosely inserted.
 
2.  Roi d'Elbe. Drame en actes, en vers. Manuscript on 10 pp. text plus title page, all in French, in black and red ink, in a composition book. Clipping of "My Animals" by VSW in The Animals Magazine loosely inserted.
 
3. The City of the Lily. Manuscript novel, 261 pp., loosely inserted into covers.
 
4. French History. Manuscript notes.  Several dozen pages of notes in ink, many checked off in red pencil as if incorporated into one of her longer fiction or non-fiction works. In a black three-ring binder.
 
5. School Essays. 1902-04.
Small 4to.; sixteen leaves, with evidence that three additional leaves were torn from the end of the notebook; ink manuscript on rectos and versos through page 31; green printed wrappers; lightly soiled.      
A slim exercise book (so printed on the cover) labeled " 'Vita' / 'Essays' / '2nd Feb.' / ' '02 [changed to '04]'," containing 31 pages of essays composed by 11 year old Vita in black ink in English, French, and German, corrected and annotated throughout in red ink in another hand.
Titles of these essays, usually two pages each, range from the first, most general English "Essay," on Charlemagne-"Essay good-writing bad"-through a French essay on "L'Amérique du Nord," which bears no commentary in red ink. Other topics include the history of Trafalgar, Charles the I (beginning on a page headed "Easter Term. 1903"), Chaucer, "Les pêches," "Ma chère Blanche" (4 pages), "Un jour de la vie d'un petit Chien," "Les malheurs de Jack," "Norway and Sweden" (4 and a half pages), "Un veritable ami" (3 pages), "Charbons végéteause," William and Mary of Orange, and Edinburgh's Rosslyn Chapel ("Eine wahre Geschichte").
 
6. Poetry and Drama. 1903-08.
Foolscap; ca. 110 lined leaves; ink manuscript on rectos and versos; over a dozen unbound manuscript leaves loosely inserted; evidence of two leaves, at least one bearing text, excised from front of notebook, and four from rear; marbled endpapers; marbled boards, morocco spine; handwritten label to spine, "Juvenilia Notebook"; worn.       
  
Manuscript drafts, some with revisions, of Vita's early poems and plays, primarily in French.
The first text included is "Death of Peter the Great's Son 1718," dated in pencil 1906. Other essays, poems, and dramatic sketches, a few in English, are dated between 1903 and 1908; some bear short contextual notes. Through these texts, Vita explored various historical and ancestral subjects including Thomas Sackville, the first Earl of Dorset (1903-6). (For her historical novel on Charles Sackville, a later Dorset Earl, see next item.) Her poetry encompasses floral as well as historical topics. The most ambitious of her theatrical pieces is "Le Masque de Fer," the five act historical drama featuring Louis XIII and Richelieu, composed between May 1906 and May 1907, composed in Alexandrine verse over 65 pages (this includes two additional manuscript leaves, pages "32a" and "60a," loosely inserted). "Une Bagatelle," a French comedy in four acts, takes place between April and June 1907, and runs 64 pages.
Other plays, most found earlier in the notebook as Vita began her first experiments with the form, include an untitled comedy in French, 15 scenes (16 pages); "Beau-Parleur," another French comedy in ten scenes (11 pages); "La Conversation," one page. Later pieces include "Jean Baptiste Poquelin," a one act (12 pages) verse comedy populated by Molière, and the brother and sister team of Antoine and Antoinette. The final entry in this continuous run of texts is an unfinished, untitled historical drama, with additions in red ink enlivening the directions to actors on how to speak various lines. After several dozen blank pages, the pagination picks up at 107, where an untitled, unfinished play begins in pencil, dated December 14, 1908, and runs for six pages, with an additional unrelated manuscript leaf loosely inserted.
7. The King's Secret. 1907.
Foolscap; ca. 150 lined leaves, ink manuscript on rectos and versos through page 253; cloth boards, morocco spine; typed label to spine, "The King's Secret"; worn.       
 
   
Lightly corrected manuscript of her 250-plus page historical novel about Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset, Knole, and the court of Charles II. It opens with a table of contents ("Index"), and closes with the pencil date, October 1907.
 
Edward Sackville, the 4th Earl of Dorset, was, as she described him, "the embodiment of Cavalier romance." His swaggering portrait painted by Vandyck dominated a Knole grand hall and captivated Vita's imagination. As a young girl she would stand gazing at the picture's many details and think about Edward's duels, the murders of his sons, and his devotion to Charles I. During the summer of 1907 she wrote in her diary of the composition of this novel: "Mother scolded me this morning because she said I wrote too much, and Dada told her he did not approve of my writing. I am afraid my book will not be published." Eventually she presented her mother with a copy of the completed manuscript and declared that Cranfield Sackville, the sensitive, antisocial, incommunicative main character who wrote and preferred Knole's past to its present, was based on herself.
Vita traveled extensively on the Continent, steeping herself in the rich and romantic literary history of the countries she visited. Reminiscing about this of her writing career, she wrote, "I remember a whole succession of historical novels, running into at least three hundred pages of foolscap each, all very neat, with dates in the margin, and sometimes the marginal comment V.E.-my private sign, meaning Very Easy; in other words, 'It has gone well to-day.' These historical novels covered a quite a wide range … All these I wrote at great speed and with extreme gusto. I kept them very private; and no sooner had I finished one than I started another."
8. Richelieu. 1907-08.
Foolscap; 185 lined leaves, ink manuscript on rectos and versos; marbled boards, morocco spine; typed label to spine, "Richelieu"; well worn.      
 
   
Lightly corrected French manuscript of her 368 page historical novel about the seventeenth-century cardinal, begun, according to her notations throughout the text, in Sluie, Scotland-at a family estate-on October 1, 1907, and completed in August 1908, likely at Knole, Between 1903 and 1908 Vita spent several months a year at Sluie, usually between August and October.  
9. Notes and Poems. 1908-1910.
3 vols., small 4to.; two vols.: 66 lined leaves each; third vol.: 75 lined leaves; ink and pencil manuscript on rectos and versos; several manuscript leaves loosely inserted.
 
         
Three Murray's Exercise Books, in which Vita recorded her notes, sketches, speeches, and plans for, and commentary on, her writing projects-such as the historical books and plays detailed above, as well as essays on history, education, and poetry, and over a dozen poems in English and French.
The first volume, a narrowly lined Murray's French Exercise Book in which she used each of the 132 pages in ink or pencil with a dense minute hand, is initialed on the cover, "V.S.W." and dated "1908-09." The first essay in this volume is titled, propitiously, "Books," and is followed on the next page by "The difference between genius and talent." Other essays and fragments appear on subjects ranging from "The outburst of lyric poetry under Elizabeth" to the problem of English children leaving school too soon. Vita also used this notebook to record plans for her dramas, by scene and act, as well as historical notes for inspiration or incorporation. Her pencil diagram of a furnished room at Knole is loosely inserted, as are a handful of additional manuscript leaves, perhaps replacing the few that were removed throughout the booklet along their perforated edge.
The second volume, a Murray's West-End Exercise Book (with wider spaces between lines), is incorrectly labeled "1908-10": the poems in English and French that appear in ink on the fourteen used pages are dated between February 1909 and December 1910, and include "Lines-composed during an organ recital in Westminster Abbey, Feb. 16th, 1909"; the heavily edited "To Lady Savile"; and the French "La poupée," "A Coquelin," "Ecrit dans le livre des invités à Antóniny," and "Ecrit dans 'Cyrano de Bergerac." In addition, a ten page manuscript (on five leaves) from one of the "French" exercise books is loosely inserted: "Deliverance," composed between December 26 and 28, 1908. Also present are a printed bust of Augustus, and a single leaf, two page pencil manuscript composed in French on the verso of a form letter, presumably to Lady Sackville-West, from the S.W. Partridge book company.
 
The final volume is another French exercise book of 132 pages, though scarcely a dozen have been used: primarily for an Italian essay, two scraps of French poetry and English philosophy, and a three page meditation, composed in English in her late teens, which begins, "Sincerity is the only possible basis for great art; that is to say, for an art which is to endure the test of changing ages." In part:
Art which is based upon affectation can never rank among the greatest efforts of art. At least it can be included in a secondary (though still considerable) category, which depends upon the conscious use of exaggeration,-whether exaggeration of eccentricity or of simplicity.
…(I use "soul" as synonymous to "capacity for good or evil.")
…It is possible, and indeed common, to possess personality allied to a mediocre soul.
It is possible, and most common, to possess remarkable intelligence allied to a mediocre soul.
It is possible, though not common, for such souls are überhaupt rare, to possess a magnificent soul unallied to either a remarkable personality or a remarkable intelligence.
It is possible to possess quite remarkable intelligence without remarkable personality, and vice versa.
The three are therefore entirely separate and mutually independent.
10. Dark Days of Thermidor. 1908.
Foolscap; ca. 150 lined leaves, ink manuscript on rectos and versos through page 266; few leaves excised not eclipsing any of the text; tailpiece with manuscript caption affixed to final text leaf; potential frontispiece (presumably) loosely inserted; marbled endpapers; marbled boards, calf tips and spine; typed title label to spine; well worn.
 
Lightly corrected 267 page manuscript of her historical novel about the French Revolution, composed, according to her marginal pencil notes throughout the text, between August 24th and October 24th, 1908. With a manuscript title page and table of contents. Loosely inserted is a pencil note to "The Honble Miss Sackville West" signed "J.W. Aspell," and "P.T.O.," with Vita's initialed pencil note on the verso: " 'The worried frown' not 'from," and press-cuttings.
11. Alcibiates. 1909.
Foolscap; approximately 55 lined leaves, ink manuscript on rectos and versos through page 105; several leaves of various sizes loosely inserted; marbled endpapers; white linen, stamped in gilt; rubbed, worn, and stained.
 
Manuscript of another historical novel, this one incomplete. Running just over 100 pages, plus several loosely inserted leaves, it tells the story of a noble Athenian Statesman and General Alcibiates. With a manuscript title page, table of contents, and Prologue; and with an epilogue written on the same paper stock, loosely inserted. Also present are her pencil sketch bust of Robespierre-perhaps traced-and a printed illustration of a French Revolutionary officer. According to Vita's pencil note in the margin of the first text page, she began this work at Knole on July 14, 1909. It was never completed because, as her son Nigel Nicolson wrote, somewhat humorously, Vita "realized that Periclean Athens must have been a rather different place from Cromwellian Knole."
Loosely inserted is an undated letter to Vita from "Baba" thanking her for a play, postmarked November 13, 1909. Also present are two smaller leaves, bearing German exercises and English poetry; and a leaf likely composed in pencil by her mother listing sartorial expenses.
12. Behind the Mask. 1909-10.
Foolscap; ca. 150 unbound lined leaves, ink manuscript on rectos through page 287; occasionally soiled; final leaf well worn; housed in a manuscript box.
 
        
Lightly revised manuscript of this six chapter novel composed between November 1, 1909 and March 15, 1910, set in contemporary France.
While both residential and financial security had been restored to the Sackville family, infidelities and emotional intrigue destabilized the marriage of Vita's parents as Vita intently watched. Her observations manifested themselves in the novel Behind the Mask, a story in which the heroine's arranged marriage is played against her true and deeper love for another man, more friend than lover, with whom she feels most like herself. Ironically its theme foretold one of the most important aspects of Vita's own future-the character of her marriage to Harold Nicolson.
Reflecting on this work years later, Vita recalled, "My five-act tragedy, I fear, was a ludicrous though ambitious attempt. My parents, nonetheless, not having been allowed to read it, consented to let me act part of it, supported by a friend … I myself played the part of the Man in the Iron Mask, dressed in cheap black sateen and a Vandyke collar of imitation lace. The audience consisted of my parents and the French servants. My parents listened patiently; the French cook, to my extreme gratification, burst into tears. I felt that I had at last scored a triumph."
13. Heritage. 1919.
Foolscap; ca. 225 leaves, ink manuscript on ca. 150 pages; several typescript leaves; occasional paperclip rust stains; loss of text on occasional damaged leaves; original hand-labeled orange cardstock folder, water stained and soiled.
 
Manuscript draft, canceled leaves and "odd passages" of Vita's first published novel, brought out by Collins in May 1919, reprinted in July, and reissued in 1923 and 1929. (See Cross A4, noting, "This was the beginning of VSW's relationship with A.P. Watt, one of the leading literary agents at that time...")
The draft, comprised of 151 hand-numbered pages plus title page, was composed in two sections, with occasional dates noted in the margins: the first, between September 23 and October 24, 1917, with the last page docketed "The End"; and the second, composed during January and February 1918, concluding with the signature, "Ever yours, Christopher Malory." The canceled pages-so labeled by Vita in ink-include revised manuscript and typescript, original pages and pages later added and then reconsidered; an early half-title page, bearing a lengthy quotation in Latin, reveals a potential title change to "Inheritance."  James Lees-Milne describes it as follows:
A story of Ruth (Vita), a yeoman farmer's daughter in the Weald of Kent who derives a grim pleasure from ill treatment by her cousin, Rawdon Westmacott, a sort of Heathcliff (Violet), half savage, with the grace of an antelope and the wildness of a hawk. Rawden's grandmother and Ruth's great-grandmother was a Spanish dancer (Pepita) whose predominating ancestry they share in mixed measure. Mallory, the narrator (Harold) is made to say to Ruth: "What am I to believe? That she is cursed with a dual nature, the one coarse and unbridled, the other delicate, conventional, practical, motherly, refined…?"
In composing Heritage Vita drew inspiration from the disorientation she felt in her current emotional landscape. Harold's confession that he had contracted a venereal disease caused her to withdraw from intimate marital relations.  At the same time, her relationship with Violet was on the verge of exploding into one of the most notorious lesbian love affairs of the 20th century.  
She began to untie her complex emotional knots and initiated literary tropes which she would employ in subsequent novels.  In Heritage she wrote "Serenity of spirit and turbulence of action should make up the sum of man's life."  It took her a while to arrive at this statement as she diligently worked through the development of the story's main characters "altering the end, killing the grandmother, sending Ruth and Westmancott out into the night, reviving Malory, jumbling everyone up again."  She even deliberated over the novel's title; first calling it Heritage, then tentatively renaming it Inheritance (in a penciled notation on the manuscript), and then settling on Heritage.
Published to critical acclaim, it received full-page reviews in major British newspapers. Its success prompted Harold to write, "I read Celery [Harold's name for Heritage] through from cover to cover last night in bed. It really is good…. I have no doubt whatsoever that you will really become an important writer … In an emotional passage you really attain Virtuosité-you do really-and it is by gravity and simplicity. The passage when Malory tells her (Ruth) of love is as good a bit of prose as one could wish. And there is no 'precious' word in the whole business."
14. The Dragon in Shallow Waters. 1921.
Foolscap; 184 unbound leaves; ink and pencil manuscript on rectos; spindle holes; occasional paper clip rust stains; minor loss of text on occasionally frayed pages; small annotated folder loosely inserted; original green card stock folder hand-labeled by Vita with the title, and "m.s.s. / Rough drafts etc."
Manuscript draft, with revisions, of Vita's second published novel, composed after her return from her elopement with Violet; though Challenge had been finished earlier, the obstacles to publication were not overcome until after the completion and publication of The Dragon-also influenced by and dedicated to Violet. (See Cross A5.) Collins published it in June 1921, bringing out a second printing before July. Lees-Milne described it as a "terrible story-one of the best novels she wrote-of two brothers, one blind, the other deaf from birth, and both creatures of almost limitless evil." It topped the fiction best-seller list in John O'London's Weekly, beating out D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love.
Though it lacks Vita's characteristic indications of closure, the manuscript is apparently complete, and bears a markedly different ending than is seen in the published version. It includes her occasional marginal notes indicating it was composed between July 1918 and September 1920, at Knole, Long Barn, Lincoln (where the novel is set), Sumurun (her father's yacht), Hindhead, Brighton, Sonning, and Hill Street; as well as occasional notes to her typist. Loosely inserted is a slightly smaller folder, with her pencil and ink epigraphs, alternate titles "Soap" (the title initially used by Harold and Vita because of its vivid description of soap manufacture), "Samson," "Ishmael," "Bondage," and "The Hundredth Sheep," and sketches. The final title, according to her pencil note inside the smaller folder, derives from a Persian proverb: "The dragon in shallow waters becomes a butt for shrimps."
Vita, paranoid of gossip since the time of her mother's public court scrutiny, and weary from the attention Violet attracted, longed for solitude. She allowed her connection with the reluctantly acquiescent Violet to fade and gratefully turned to Harold for domesticity, peace of mind, and inspiration. The affair, ironically, ultimately strengthened their marriage: Vita and Harold emerged from the crisis with renewed mutual respect and love, and the ensuing years were among Vita's most prolific.
15. Reddin. Ca. 1921-22.
Foolscap; 139 leaves, hand-numbered; tan cloth folder.
 
Working manuscript novel, composed in black and blue ink.
16. The Changing Countryside. (November 1923.)
12 manuscript leaves.
 
Working manuscript for this essay which appeared, according to a pencil note in another hand, in World's Work, vol. 42.
17. Grey Wethers. 1923.
8vo.; 259 unbound leaves; blue and black ink and pencil manuscript on rectos; spindle holes; occasional paperclip rust stains; original blue card stock folder hand-labeled "Grey Wethers."
           
Manuscript draft, with revisions, which, according to her occasional marginal notes, Vita composed between April and November 1922; it bears her customary notes to her typist throughout. It was published as Grey Wethers: A Romantic Novel by Heinemann in June 1923. (See Cross A10.)
 
Glendinning described this novel as "the archetypal early V. Sackville-West novel, about Clare, married to an over-civilized, articulate non-masculine man, and in love with lean, dark, red-shirted, gypsy-like Lovel …Vita's story is narcissistic: she is both Clare and Lovel, in love with both halves of herself, who are in love, in the novel, with one another…"  Affectionately referred to as "chalk stones" by Harold, this book was also praised by Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon as "a magnificent book. The descriptions of the Downs are as fine as in any language. Such power! Such power!"  
18. From The Land. 1926.
8vo.; 9 leaves; ink manuscript and typescript on rectos.
Manuscripts and typescripts, with occasional revisions, from four sections of Vita's 2500 line Hawthornden Prize-winning poem. Published by Heinemann with wrappers designed by George Plank, it saw thirteen printings; Heinemann also published a limited edition of 125 deluxe numbered copies signed by Vita and Plank. (See Cross A13.)
 
The Land incorporates some of her poems of life in Kent from Orchard and Vineyard, and others completed in Persia on a visit to Harold. Sections represented here in manuscript include "Fritillaries" (1 leaf, 1 page, typescript carbon); "Angelus" (2 leaves, annotated typescript, 3 pages); "Woodcraft" (3 leaves, 3 pages, annotated typescript carbon); and "Making Cider" (1 leaf, 1 page annotated typescript; 2 leaves, 2 pages, typescript carbon).
"Fritillaries" is singled out by Glendinning as among those portions containing "the best poetry" and "an emblematic quality and reveal a personal vision."
"I sing the cycle of my country's year," it begins, and the poet does precisely that, describing in regular iambics, season by season, the rituals and tasks of farming life. The first-person approach lightens an otherwise impersonal cataloguing of what she calls in the poem the "classic monotony" of the farming cycle, "the mild continuous epic of the soil."
The poem does not set out to be exciting. "So my pedestrian measure gravely plods / Telling a loutish life" - and lending itself to parody from cynics, experimentalists and modernists…. What Vita set out to do was to document the age-old Kentish skills and processes and the Kentish landscape … Her sources were not only her own daily observations but encyclopedias of agriculture and old poems and farming treatises…. The dogged descriptions of processes are further broken up by lyrical passages, often independent poems.  
Other verses sketch people such as Geoffrey "Tinker" Scott ("The tinker with his little cart, Hawking his tinny wares…") and Dorothy Wellesley ("She walks among the loveliness she made, Between the apple-blossom and the water…").
 
Vita's first thought for The Land came from J. C. Squire in 1921: Harold wrote in his diary, "Vita has an idea of writing sort of English Georgics. Inspired by a chance remark of J.C. Squire's to the effect that it was odd how people did not write poems about occupations." (After its publication, Squire would give it "its first and adulatory review.")  For the next five years she worked on this collection. Half way through, she wrote to British civil servant, translator, and patron of poets and artists Edward Marsh that she liked a phrase of his about the "short lyric cries" of modern poets, "which exactly expresses the irritation that is driving me into trying the experiment of a volume of connected verse." Forty years later, Nigel reminisced "I can see her now at her sitting-room table at Long Barn writing The Land, looking up over her spectacles as we burst in, patient with our interruption, but closing the blotter on the manuscript…"
Poet Laureate Robert Bridges lavished praise on The Land: "It's very good. I'm very pleased-very pleased indeed-you've got your feet on the ground-nothing woolly there-not a woman's writing at all-damn good-I congratulate you." Sir Edmond Gosse did the same: "A poem of which neither Tennyson nor Wordsworth need have been ashamed. The truly Virgilian solidity … This most important contribution to English Literature…." Vita was inspired by critical response to begin a sequel, "The Garden," which she would eventually complete over a decade later. Meanwhile, she mused, "My head is bursting with poetry. I will write another long poem. I will get myself into English literature. Somehow or other."
19. From Collected Poems Volume One. 1928-1933.
Primarily foolscap; ca. 50 leaves; black and blue ink and pencil manuscript on rectos; occasional paperclip rust stains.
 
Manuscripts, some with revisions, and two typescripts, of 33 of the 116 poems that appeared in Collected Poems-over a dozen making their print debut there-some with pencil instructions to her typist. (See Cross A29.) Dates on several manuscripts record her work at Sissinghurst and elsewhere between August 1928 and August 1933; undocketed material might date to as early as 1922.
Upon her return to England, Vita was asked by the Woolfs to assemble a group of her poems for what would be titled Collected Poems Volume One, though no Volume Two ever materialized. Many of the poems were about family, friends, and herself, for example "Heredity," about her father until the final verse, which is about Ben. The love poems dated 1931 are about Evelyn Irons: "Tess," "The Temple of Love Les Baux," "No Obligation," and "Valediction." In addition, there are poems about her mother, to whom the volume is dedicated ("To My Mother"), Dorothy Wellesley ("Penn-y-Pass"), and Enid Bagnold ("To ***," 2 drafts). Other poems include "Black Tarn, for Pat Dansey" (here untitled); some inspired by her American tour, such as "In New England. For Mina Curtiss," and "The Aquarium, San Francisco"; and others about women of accomplishment, like "Alice Meynell," and "Anne Boleyn Forgotten."
Harold, proud of a favorable notice he had just read, wrote,
…I knew that to you it would give such pleasure to have such a review in the New Statesman, the only paper that really counts much in these things, and the only book about which you have seriously cared. You know how pleased these things make one. I mean a sort of warm doughnut inside, sweet outside, soft-all-round, and with a fid of jam in its gentle belly.
20. Notes Andrew Marvell (1929) / Nursery Rhymes (1947) / Lectures and Broadcasts (1934, 1946).
Foolscap; ca. 50 leaves; black, brown, blue, and green ink manuscript, with frequent red check marks, on rectos and many versos; printed wrappers.
 
Manuscript notebook, ca. 1929-1934-another S.O. Book 129, "supplied for the public service"-including approximately 80 pages of notes for Vita's book on Andrew Marvell, published by Faber and Faber as part of their series The Poets on the Poets, in 1929 (see Cross A18); her lectures on "Elizabethan Lyrics and the Metaphysical School" (delivered between November 1 and 29, 1934 at the Royal Society of Literature); a 1946 BBC lecture on George Eliot and Thomas Chatterton; and her later essay "Nursery Rhymes," published by Dropmore Press in 1947 as part of the Dropmore Essays series, in a limited edition of 550 copies (see Cross A45).
Includes an unlabeled index in the front, detailing the contents through page 65-all related to Marvell. The balance of the used pages in the notebook are devoted to the other subjects. Many of the notes are checked off, presumably as they were incorporated into relevant work.
Loosely inserted material includes a typescript copy of "Tichborne's Elegy Written in the Tower before his execution, 1586," a letter from the BBC (January 1946), and a typed extract from the Gentleman's Magazine about Chatterton.
21. The Unborn Visitant. 1930.
13 manuscript foolscap leaves, ink and pencil, rectos only.
 
Working manuscript story docketed at the close in her hand, "Long Barn June 14-18 1930."
22. Middleton Place, South Carolina. 1933.
2 manuscript foolscap leaves, rectos only.
 
Ink manuscript lightly annotated in pencil, and docketed by Vita at the close, "Greensboro, N.C. / April 11, 1933." With a photocopy letter from her son Nigel to "Jo," explaining that it is "the only poem she ever wrote about the United States."
23. Reddin. 1931.
Foolscap; 26 leaves, nearly all manuscript, in ink and pencil.
 
Working drafts of this long poem. Together with 21 pp. mimeo typescript of a later version.
24. The Old Chorister to Himself as a Boy. 1946.
6 leaves, various.
Together with:
Sackville-West. The Old Chorister to Himself as a Boy. [London?]: The Dropmore Press, Ltd., 1946.
Printed bifolium, all sides covered.
 
The Dropmore Poems No. 2, one of 100 numbered copies signed by Sackville-West (this is copy #95).
Two manuscript versions and one heavily annotated working typescript, together with the printed version.
25. From King's Daughter. 1929.
Primarily foolscap; one dozen unbound leaves, including title page; black ink and pencil manuscript, primarily on rectos; occasional spindle holes; occasional paperclip rust stains.
 
Manuscript drafts of nine of the 19 poems or cantos which appeared in this collection published by the Hogarth Press. (See Cross A19.) Most notable among them is the oft anthologized "The greater cats with golden eyes" (II.ii) which Yeats included in The Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936). With the exception of "Idyll" (I.vii) the others are untitled-as they were published-so we offer instead their opening lines, as well as their part and verse number:
"Goosey goosey gander" (I.iii)
"She brought with careless hand" (I.vi)
"Which were the strings, musician" (Berlin January 1929) (I.viii)
"Stave off the moment when the meddling tick" (Long Barn 21-22 March 1929) (II.ii)
"Put on your smock, Princess; let satins lie" (Long Barn 1929) (II.iii)
"Sagitta, lean your ear between the leaves" (Long Barn 21-22 March 1929) (II.iv)
"Onyx is counted black, and marble white" (Long Barn 22-3-29) (II.v)
After Vita submitted this collection of love poems, obliquely written about her affair with Mary Campbell, to the Hogarth Press for publication, she became concerned about their personal nature. She wrote to Harold for advice: "It is not on the score of their goodness or badness that I am worried … but you see they are love poems … and it has since occurred to me that people will think them Lesbian. I should not like this, either for my own sake or for yours." Harold responded, "Their form is not perfect enough for artifice, and their content, if any, is not anything which people will like. If you had got something important to say, then say, and don't care a damn about what people think. But I do feel that to write vers de société without pleasing literary people is a grave mistake."  Vita shared this response with Virginia, eliciting the following response: "Damn Harold. And why should you attach any importance to the criticism of a diplomat?"
26. Interlude in Two Lives. Annotated ribbon typescript, 52 pp., in a Curtis Brown folder, with two TLS from her agent, Dudley Barker, 1961.
52 leaves; rectos only; ribbon typescript; annotations in black and brown ink and pencil; light spotting to first few leaves; hole punched along left margin; string-tied (using two of the three holes) with green yarn into blue card folder; printed Curtis Brown label filled-in in typescript.
Together with:
Barker, Dudley. Two Typed Letters signed, "Dudley Barker," to Sackville-West, August 22 and September 21, 1961, one leaf each of Curtis Brown letterhead, rectos only.
 
Sackville-West's original typescript of her story "Interlude in Two Lives," with her annotations suggesting two rounds of edits and one further round of cuts for the purposes of rendering it short enough for periodical publication in Woman's Own. Barker's first letter, dated August 22, 1961, contains his requests from Woman's Own editors to cut Sackville-West's 17,000 story approximately in half, explaining, "They cannot give a precise promise as to length, because of the changing exigencies of magazine production , but that is the length they envisage." He alludes to Sackville-West's desire to split the story into a two-part serial, but turns down her request, writing that it would not be possible, "since it has no dramatic crescendo, and since it would mar it to split it." In Sackville-West's own yarn-bound manuscript of "Interlude in Two Lives," she notes locations where the story could be cut to 12,000 words, marking in pencil "optional cuts" on pages 9-19, 20-22-30-33-35-36, and 38-39, hand-renumbering the pages and making line edits in brown ink throughout the text. Following the story's final line, "This story may well be true," Sackville-West wrote in, "Why not?" In Barker's second letter to Sackville-West, dated 21 September, he informs her of the story's final cut to 9,000 words, "taking into account the cuts which you yourself made, and one or two very minor ones which he [editor Robert Henrey] made subsequently." At the end of the note, Barker adds Henrey's request to, "please tell Miss Sackville-West how very much we hope she will soon let us see another story."  
27.  [Untitled play.] n.d.
13 leaves of foolscap, rectos only.
 
Characters include Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Alice, Bob, Jack, the Russian, and the Policeman.
28. The Engagement. n.d.
4 manuscript foolscap leaves, rectos and versos.
Together with:
5 mimeograph typescript foolscap leaves, rectos only.
 
Working manuscript and mimeograph typescript of this story, the typescript headed in pencil, "The Engagement."
29. Knole 30th May 1910 resumed. n.d.
3 manuscript foolscap leaves, rectos only.
 
Ink manuscript, one line of revision in pencil.
30. Prinkipo. Nd.
Manuscript, tightly amended typescript, and clean typescript carbon.
Four foolscap leaves; rectos only; black ink manuscript; minimal annotations in pencil; light spotting to leaves; paper clip rust stains to all leaves; creased at folds.
 (together with):
Three foolscap leaves; rectos only; purple ribbon typescript; minimal annotations in pencil; light spotting to leaves.
(together with):
Three foolscap leaves; rectos only; carbon typescript; paper clip rust stains to all leaves.
 
Manuscript and typescript (with carbon) of Sackville-West's short manuscript about the "island prison of Prinkipo." At the top margin of the manuscript, an annotation in pencil, "Prinkipo" can suggest a possible title. Sackville-West's edits are evident throughout the manuscript.
31. Manuscript book review: The Englishman's Flora by Geoffrey Grigson. N.d.
2 manuscript foolscap leaves, 3 pages total.
 
Working manuscript for this 700 word piece written for the Lit Supp.
32. Various poetry manuscripts.
11 leaves, various; 13 sides covered in pencil and ink; one in mimeo typescript.
 
Titles / first lines as follows: "Spleen" (2 leaves), "Spring shall take her by the hand…," "Then God  looked down, and shook his hands…," "Romance and I have parted…" (2 leaves), "B. A castle haunts my dreams…," "Far from shrewd companies…" (4 leaves).
From Violet Trefusis's collection of Vita Sackville-West material
A folder listing in pencil manuscript 14 poem titles, with "V's poems" scrawled large in the middle of the folder. Two on the list are absent: "Advice" and "18th c. portrait." Two are present in both manuscript and annotated mimeo typescript: "Three Dresses" and "Disillusion." One, by Violet Keppel,  is present only in printed form ("Invitation").
 
Inscribed by Lady Sackville
Sackville-West, Vita. Orchard and Vineyard. London and Jew York: John Lane, 1921.
8vo.; blue paper-covered boards, tan cloth spine; author/title label to upper panel and spine.  
 
First edition. Signed by Sackville-West on the title page. Inscribed by Vita's mother on the front endpaper: Timothy J. Custin / White-Lodge-on-the-Cliff / Rocdean Brighton / From The Dowager Lady Sackville / 8th May 1930.
Photographs
  
33. 12 black and white images of Vita and Sissinghurst; 2 ¾ x 4 ½ inches each; on four contact sheets.
18 negatives of additional images; 2 ½ x 4 ¼ inches each.
34. 4 ½ x 6 ½ inch sepia toned print of Vita and two puppies. Captioned on the verso, "Freya's puppies."

© 2011-2017 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.