Portrait of a Marriage:
1 Synopsis 2 Film and television adaptations 3 Further reading 4 External links 5 References
The book relates to Sackville-West's complicated marriage to writer
and politician Harold Nicolson. Two chapters are written by
Sackville-West. They are centred on herself and her passion for Violet
Trefusis for whom she abandoned Harold Nicolson, Vita’s bisexual
husband and her two children, Nigel and Ben.
Three chapters were written by her son Nigel Nicolson. They present
the sexual and emotional life secrets of his mother: ”I did not know
Violet. I met her only twice, and by then she had become a galleon, no
longer the pinnace of her youth, and I did not recognize in her sails
the high wind which had swept my mother away […]. I did not know
that Vita could love like this, had loved like this, because she would
not speak of it to her son. Now that I know everything I love her
more, as my father did, because she was tempted, because she was weak.
She was a rebel, she was Julian [Vita’s alter ego], and though she
did not know it, she fought for more than Violet. She fought for the
right to love, men and women, rejecting the conventions that marriage
demands exclusive love, and that women should love only men, and men
only women. For this she was prepared to give up everything. Yes, she
may have been mad, as she later said, but it was a magnificent folly.
She may have been cruel, but it was a cruelty on a heroic scale. How
can I despise the violence of such passion?”
Sackville-West writes mostly about herself and her emotions. Nicholson
writes about his father and the love between him and Vita, that grew
more and more important for them as their life progressed, and was the
base to which each of them returned after Vita’s strong passions for
other people, including the famous
Souhami, Diana (1997). Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter. Portrait of a Lesbian Affair: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 123–223. ISBN 978-0-312-19517-5.
^ Portrait of