Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 (2020)

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 Katie Roiphe Uncommon Arrangements Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles Katie Roiphe s stimulating work has made her one of the most talked about cultural critics of her generation Now this bracing young writer delves deeply into one of the most layered of subjects marria
  • Title: Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939
  • Author: Katie Roiphe
  • ISBN: 9780385339377
  • Page: 334
  • Format: Hardcover
Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 Katie Roiphe Katie Roiphe s stimulating work has made her one of the most talked about cultural critics of her generation Now this bracing young writer delves deeply into one of the most layered of subjects marriage Drawn in part from the private memoirs, personal correspondence, and long forgotten journals of the British literary community from 1910 to the Second World War, here arKatie Roiphe s stimulating work has made her one of the most talked about cultural critics of her generation Now this bracing young writer delves deeply into one of the most layered of subjects marriage Drawn in part from the private memoirs, personal correspondence, and long forgotten journals of the British literary community from 1910 to the Second World War, here are seven marriages la mode each rising to the challenge of intimate relations in or less creative ways Jane Wells, the wife of H.G remained his rock, despite his decade long relationship with Rebecca West among others Katherine Mansfield had an irresponsible, childlike romance with her husband, John Middleton Murry, that collapsed under the strain of real life problems Vera Brittain and George Gordon Catlin spent years in a semidetached marriage he in America, she in England Vanessa Bell maintained a complicated harmony with the painter Duncan Grant, whom she loved, and her husband, Clive And her sister Virginia Woolf, herself no stranger to marital particularities, sustained a brilliant running commentary on the most intimate details of those around her Every chapter revolves around a crisis that occurred in each of these marriages as serious as life threatening illness or as seemingly innocuous as a slightly tipsy dinner table conversation and how it was resolved or not resolved In these portraits, Roiphe brilliantly evokes what are, as she says, the fluctuations and shifts in attraction, the mysteries of lasting affection, the endurance and changes in love, and the role of friendship in marriage The deeper mysteries at stake in all relationships.From the Hardcover edition.
Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 Katie Roiphe

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One thought on “Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939

  1. Paul

    Katie Roiphe has decided here to analyse marriage by looking at a number of unconventional marriages covering the years 1910 1939 and all moving in literary circles The marriages were H.G and Jane Wells, Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry, Elizabeth von Arnim and John Francis Russell, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Ottoline and Philip Morrell, Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge not a legal marriage at the time obviously , Vera Brittain and George Catlin There is a chapter on each relationship [...]

  2. Dorian

    I can t rate this book, in good conscience, because I couldn t finish it Terrible drivel The problem isn t that Roiphe relies almost exclusively on already published material, nor that her prose is lumpy and dull The problem is that she hasn t an idea in her head She wants to say something about how these early twentieth century literary relationships be they marriages or affairs, or something less easily definable show the very idea of sexual and affective relationship being cast into doubt, or [...]

  3. Cecily

    A multiple biography, looking at seven literary marriages in the Bloomsbury set London literati of 1910 1939 At least one of each couple had other relationships with the knowledge and usually consent of the other It includes HG Wells, Katherine Mansfield, Vanessa Bell, Ottoline Morrell and Radcliffe Hall The book tries to dissect these relationships individually and in the context of their time Things are further complicated by the fact that they all knew at least one of the other couples and ha [...]

  4. Cari

    Uncommon Arrangements seems a simplistic title at first, until the reader begins to realize how very complicated and uncommon the subjects are Though the era she focuses on overlaps with WWI, some of the unions author Katie Roiphe details may seem shocking or odd, even to modern readers There is a general feeling today, what with skyrocketing divorce rates, people living together but not married, and the question over gay marriage, that marriage and relationships in general are complex, harder [...]

  5. Cera

    I admit that I read this book in a rather uncongenial setting sitting in a doctor s waiting room while my husband got stitches after a bike accident.But even after making allowances for that, I m still disappointed in this book As the title explains, it examines seven different marriages from a specific time social mileu, looking at how the couples met, the ways in which they lived together or apart, took lovers or remained faithful, had children or avoided them It s a fascinating subject, very [...]

  6. Maggie

    A fascinating look at the marriages of prominent artists and writers in the years between the wars Featured are H.G Wells who was crazy about the ladies , Radclyffe Hall famous lesbian author who is sadly is only remembered for The Well of Loneliness , Virginia Bell and all her gentlemen and her gentlemen s gentlemen, and Vera Brittain The work opens with a fascinating introduction that touches upon the author s method and the nature of marriages today Roiphe seems intent on learning something f [...]

  7. Zen Cho

    Celebrity gossip with a patina of literary scholarship I enjoyed reading it and found the writing fluid and reasonably intelligent But it was from a staunchly heteronormative, conventional viewpoint you kind of know from the outset that Roiphe s not going to say anything challenging or useful about marriage or gender roles, when she describes marriage as something most of us experience in the preface Slightly boggled by her offhand dismissal of the discrimination faced by lesbians in early 20th [...]

  8. Sarah

    punches Katie Roiphe in the face Though I like Roiphe s writing style and adore her subjects, I can t get past my feeling that this is tabloid literature You can almost see the wicked gleam in her eye as she reduces her idols to comic figures in a narrative of her own.I give this two stars one for being a book and a second for its vibrant cast Catty Roiphe gets no stars from me

  9. Christina

    I enjoyed immensely this examination of several literary couples in the early part of the twentieth century trying to break the traditional mold of marriage i.e two people committed solely to one another for life The book is an interesting examination of what happens when people smart, intellectual, passionate people try to redefine the most traditional of relationships The various couples in the book are or less successful and or less happy with the results Given what we know independently of [...]

  10. Beth Bonini

    This is a quick, entertaining read about some fascinating people and their rather unconventional marital arrangements If you are interested in the period between the wars in England, and if you are intrigued by the unconventional Bloomsbury set, you will probably find this worthwhile although it is not particularly scholarly or insightful There is a truism that no one really knows what goes on in another marriage, and perhaps that s why marriage as subject matter is endlessly intriguing such a [...]

  11. Kate

    well, you certainly put me in MY place, all you who complained that this book was merely tabloid, too full of previously published material, not idea rich enough I liked it Quite a lot.In fact, I would call it a must read for anyone who has a strong interest in any of its principal characters Not being a big fan of any of them, I was nonetheless fascinated by the ways in which they chose to live their conjoined lives So unique, so artful, so wise if you ask them So just as messed up as anyone el [...]

  12. Lavina

    It s probably like 4.5 stars, but I so enjoyed and was fascinated by this book that I can t leave it at that The glimpses into the seven marriages between pre World War II literary figures including H.G Wells, Katherine Mansfield, and Vera Brittain seem, at times, too intimate in the sense that I sometimes felt like I was prying into a life whose inner workings I shouldn t be privy to Katie Roiphe, though, handles the relationships with care she s not judgmental but, rather, in awe of the peopl [...]

  13. Sylvester

    Mixed feelings on this one Excellently researched and written Marriage is an almost impossible state to examine, I mean an individual marriage Relationships that are mystifying from the outside often make perfect sense to the persons within it or not, as the case may be I can t say that I am less mystified by these relationships after reading this book, but I don t know that that was the point anyway I certainly don t like some of the people involved Katharine Mansfield really breaks my heart, I [...]

  14. Kelly

    I just read a review of this book that articulates exactly my thoughts by a user named Dorian I can t rate this book, in good conscience, because I couldn t finish it Terrible drivel The problem isn t that Roiphe relies almost exclusively on already published material, nor that her prose is lumpy and dull The problem is that she hasn t an idea in her head She wants to say something about how these early twentieth century literary relationships be they marriages or affairs, or something less easi [...]

  15. Amy

    I picked up this title because the NYT Review made it sound a bit like two other works I had read and loved The first being Francine Prose s Lives of the Muses and the second Claudia Roth Pierpont s Passionate Minds In comparrison to those books this one seems unambitious, unimportant, and uninspired Possibly because Pierpont and Prose focussed on the professional lives of their subjects they were able to make their books feel important and analytical This one never made me feel like anything [...]

  16. Lee Kofman

    I learned a lot from Roiphe how to write intelligently about famous people s life stories without merely echoing their biographers, but rather how to synthesise information about them The book is somewhere on the border between creative general non fiction Whatever it is I read it with fascination It s riveting and thoughtful.

  17. Faith McLellan

    More than slightly mind boggling The intricate connections among the people marriages profiled here A work of enormous scholarship, but lightly worn Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  18. Anne

    I found this book a really interesting read, particularly in conjunction with Elizabeth Gilbert s recent book, Committed Uncommon Arrangments is a series of essays about married British writers from 1910 1939 Each of the relationships is a study in the idea of marriage and committment, and questioning the traditional notions of monogamy and domestic professional spheres I am sure throughout history there have been couples who have consciously made an effort to redefine the idea of marriage to ma [...]

  19. Vicki

    This book took me almost a month to read, which is really unusual I kept stopping after the stories of each arrangement and wondering if it was appropriate to be reading so much about a real person s marriage I managed to get past that, mostly These people all documented their inner lives with such diligence that surely they must have anticipated that someone would read it, and perhaps even hoped that people would want to.And while I m not sure I have any insight into my own life after reading [...]

  20. Linnéa

    An extremely interesting and unique read, recommended lent to me by my sister I feel like I can safely say that I ve never read a book like this before, and because the topic is so original, I might never again Although to be honest, I can only praise its uniqueness and originality for so long before making my most important point in that it didn t thrill me Firstly, I found it extremely hard to get into I consider myself to be a pretty fast reader, and yet a fairly short and seemingly simple bo [...]

  21. skein

    What could have been such a fascinating subject omg the sordid love lives of london literati is just ugh I was unable to finish it maybe someone else will have better luck A shame, really I had such high hopes for the London Literary Circle, c 1910 1939 and then I find that beneath all the sex HG Wells enormous douchbaggery, there just isn t that much plot.Or maybe it s Roiphe Astute readers will notice I am always willing to blame the author Roiphe mentions once that these very tangled love aff [...]

  22. Laura

    2.5 stars.I picked up this book mostly because I am interested in a number of the people she wrote about Vera Brittain, Elizabeth von Arnim because I liked the move based on her book, Enchanted April , and Vanessa Bell The author sets out to examine seven marriages in the period between WWI and WWII in Great Britain mostly , whose participants were trying to figure out how to live in a modern marriage which appears to be equated to involving other people, physically, emotionally, or both In the [...]

  23. Katherine Basto

    After reading the different chapters on these post Victorian era relationships it made me wonder if this would work in the 21st century Clearly, artists such as H.G Wells who was married and took Rebecca West who later became a famous novelist in her own right as a mistress, got her pregnant and continued on with others was interesting His wife wrote West a congratulatory letter after the baby was born It made me realize that many artists and creative people just desire and need another a type o [...]

  24. Evelyn

    When I became engaged, a friend called to congratulate me During the course of that conversation he said something in passing that I remember vividly to this day While discussing how easily people often jump to judgement about the suitability or sometimes unsuitability of friends choices for their significant others and the balance and trajectory of their friends married or coupled lives, this friend smartly said, anyone outside can never understand what goes on inside a couple HT Charley I thou [...]

  25. Andrea Dowd

    This book is a small, snapshot biography of seven complex writers in early 20th century Britain I didn t read the whole thing, I just read the author s who interested me Elizabeth Von Arnim, Katherine Mansfield, H.G Wells, and Radclyff Hall The whole premise of each of these relationships is Modernity It was the turn of the century and most of these men and women were larger than life literary masters They felt as though they were on the cutting edge of a new way of living and loving And in the [...]

  26. Emily

    I wanted to read this because I didn t know much about the writers it discusses and I often hear people talking about how they re obsessed with Bloomsbury and etc so I thought this might be a good juicy overview introduction But really I just found it incredibly boring It seemed like it would be really interesting to learn about how people in the 1910s 20s etc dealt with having relationships that were outside the accepted norms, and about how society reacted to them for doing so, but this book j [...]

  27. Synthia

    This book would make a good movie, just to see how unorthodox all these relationships are and how they all are pretty much in the same social circle It spans world war I and II in Britain among writers.7 marriages la mode each rising to the challenge of intimate relations in or less creative ways Jane Wells, the wife of H.G remained his rock, despite his decade long relationship with Rebecca West among others Katherine Mansfield had an irresponsible, childlike romance with her husband, John Mid [...]

  28. Kasey Jueds

    Loved this Partly because of the time period, one of my favorites in British history partly because the book includes favorite people, too Vanessa Bell, Vera Brittain, Virginia Woolf who doesn t have her own chapter but makes lots of appearances Very readable smart but also down to earth, accessible, sometimes funny, even Most of all, actually, I loved the introduction, in which Roiphe writes not only about the time period but touches on her own interest in the subject There s a section, actuall [...]

  29. Judith Huang

    It comes to me, reading even the most tormented diary entries, the most pained accounts of jealousy, the most troubled fragments of memoir these are love letters There is Vanessa Bell stepping into a bath while Duncan shaves at the sink there are h g wells and Rebecca west winding their way through Parisian streets, lost and arguing there is Katherine Mansfield rushing to the French market to buy violets for murrays arrival there is Vera Brittain carrying the orange tinted pink roses Roland gave [...]

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