Uncommon Response

Assia Wevill

 
 

Assia Wevill was Sylvia Plath’s polar opposite: raven-haired, magnetic, cosmopolitan–and, though multilingual and brilliantly well read, unambitious as a poet. But the women have one thing in common: Each killed herself when she was abandoned by Ted Hughes.

Born in 1927 Berlin, Assia Gutmann fled the Nazis with her Russian Jewish father and German mother to Tel Aviv, eventually marrying a British soldier. She was on her third husband, the poet David Wevill, by the time she met Ted and Sylvia, who were taken with the couple–especially Assia, a vibrant embodiment of the prewar European culture that so fascinated them. It was while the Wevills were visiting in Devon in May 1962, as Hughes later wrote that “the dreamer in me/fell in love with her”. When he was next in London, he left a note at the office where Assia worked as a copywriter: “I have come to see you, despite all marriages”. She responded with a blade of grass dipped in Dior perfume.

 
 

Bibliography:

Lover of Unreason; Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath’s Rival, and Ted Hughes’s Doomed Love
By Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev
(Carroll & Graf)

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Ring of Grass

“Here on this ring of grass we have sat together, bound by the tremendous power of some inner compulsion. The trees wave, the clouds pass. The time approaches when these soliloquies shall be shared.”

Virginia Woolf

The Waves

 
 

A group at Garsington Manor, country home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, near Oxford. Left to right: Lady Ottoline Morrell, Mrs. Aldous Huxley, Lytton Strachey, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell.

 
 

Picnic party at Sussex. F. Birrell, Clive Bell,  Julian Bell, Duncan Grant, Angelica Bell, Angus Davidson, Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Quentin Bell and others Bloomsbury members. 

 
 

Lesser known members: Ralph Partridge, Noel Carrington, Catherine Carrington and Frances Partridge

 
 

The Bloomsbury Group—or Bloomsbury Set—was an influential group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists,the best known members of which included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. This loose collective of friends and relatives lived, worked or studied together near Bloomsbury, London, during the first half of the 20th century. According to Ian Ousby, “although its members denied being a group in any formal sense, they were united by an abiding belief in the importance of the arts”. Their works and outlook deeply influenced literature, aesthetics, criticism, and economics as well as modern attitudes towards feminism, pacifism, and sexuality.