Bloomsbury's Outsider: A Life of David Garnett

Author(s): Sarah Knights

Biographys & Memoirs

Shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2015 Literary Sensation, Lover, Libertine, Family Man Award-winning novelist and towering figure of the 20th century British literary landscape, David Garnett was a Bloomsbury insider ultimately pushed to the margins. In this, the first biography of Garnett, (known as Bunny), author Sarah Knights - who has had unprecedented access to Garnett's papers - goes beyond stereotype and myth to present a clear sighted account of this often contradictory figure. Trained as a scientist, Garnett worked as a novelist and wrote exquisite prose. Lady into Fox was made into a Rambert ballet and Aspects of Love into an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. In the First World War, he was a conscientious objector whereas in the Second he worked for British intelligence. A free love enthusiast, he nevertheless married. He loathed literary criticism but became a leading literary critic. Born into the Victorian period, Garnett's life spanned two World Wars, the Swinging Sixties and beyond. From pre-Revolutionary Russia, by way of Indian Nationalists in London and carefree Neo-Paganism, Garnett's early life was packed with adventure.
Propelled by a desire to be constantly in love, he dazzled men and women, believing the person mattered, irrespective of gender. An overnight literary sensation in the 1920s he was at the centre of literary London. Confidante and mentor of many writers, T. E. Lawrence, Rupert Brooke, D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad and H. G. Wells, were among his friends. Garnett felt most at home with the Bloomsbury Group, in particular with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, his lover, with whom he lived during the First World War. Their long friendship was threatened, however, when Garnett's cradle-side prophecy to marry their daughter Angelica came true. David 'Bunny' Garnett is now brought to life in the BBC series 'Life in Squares'.


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The first biography of David Garnett goes beyond stereotype and myth and presents a clear sighted account of this often contradictory figure at the centre of literary London in the era of the Bloomsbury Group. David 'Bunny' Garnett is now brought to life in the BBC series 'Life in Squares'.

Sarah Knights' biography is lucidly written and full of new material. Bloomsbury's Outsider, A Life of David Garnett, is a most original guide to inner Bloomsbury. I strongly recommend it. -- Michael Holroyd Impressive biography ... beautifully written and full of surprises. -- Paul Levy A delight to read ... genial and proportionate. -- Richard Davenport-Hines Sunday Times Sarah Knights has written the book David Garnett deserves. -- David Sexton Evening Standard Thoughtful and carefully researched account. -- Anne Chisholm The Spectator A sympathetic, thorough and witty portrait of a flawed but lovable man. -- Francesca Wade Daily Telegraph Magisterial biography. -- Roger Lewis Saturday Times Excellent biography of David 'Bunny' Garnett...novelist, publisher and long-time Bloomsbury eminence. Private Eye

Sarah Knights has an MA in Life Writing and a PhD from the celebrated School of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of East Anglia. She lives in north Norfolk. This is her first biography.

General Fields

  • : 9781448215454
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Reader
  • : May 2015
  • : 234mm X 153mm X 32mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 823.912
  • : 622
  • : black & white illustrations
  • : Sarah Knights