HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Dame Edith Sitwell, born 7 September 1887
“I am not eccentric. It’s just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of catfish.”
In 1933 Dame Edith Sitwell published a book called English Eccentrics. She was superbly suited to her subject, for Edith was wonderfully eccentric herself. She was born into an aristocratic family, but received little love from her parents, and turned to literature and the artistic world for friendship and fulfilment.
She was a highly respected poet – try reading her Still Falls the Rain which is about London during the Blitz. And she was a biographer, with books about Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. I’ve always enjoyed a story about Edith at the end of her life – confined to a wheelchair and battling Marfan Syndrome, she remained witty to the end. Someone asked her how she was and Edith replied, “I am dying, but otherwise I am quite well.” She did die on 9 December 1964 at the age of 77.
Here’s a recording of Sitwell reading Still Falls the Rain, with an animated photo of her.
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