You may have heard me mention Lady Into Fox by David Garnett here a few times – indeed, it’s on my ongoing list of 50 books you must read. Lady Into Fox was a focus of my DPhil and I read plenty of archival material around Garnett and the 1920s. Just my luck that a biography was published now, after I’ve finished. Ditto one of Edith Olivier. I’m not bitter, honest.
But, being serious, it’s rather lovely to have everything about David Garnett’s life in one place, and I was pleased to review Sarah Knights’ biography for Shiny New Books. As usual, you can read the beginning of my review below, or head over to SNB to read the whole thing.
Sarah Knights claims that she wrote her biography of David Garnett partly to restore his reputation – not as a writer, but as a person. His wife’s memoir Deceived With Kindness had painted him as a libertine who took advantage of her youth – perhaps one of the reasons that it is so seldom quoted in Bloomsbury’s Outsider – and Knights felt that was an injustice. Well, her book is exhaustive, fascinating, and… does nothing whatever to dispel Garnett’s libertine reputation.