Geoffrey Scott and the Berenson Circle Literary and Aesthetic Life in the Early 20th Century

Author: Dunn, Richard
Year:1998
Pages:376
ISBN:0-7734-8488-4
978-0-7734-8488-7
Price:239.95
This is the first full-length biography of writer, architect, esthetician and editor Geoffrey Scott (1884-1929). His Architecture of Humanism was considered the most important statement about architecture since Ruskin and was for years used as a basic text in architectural schools in England and the States, and is still in print. The Portrait of Zelide won the James Tait Memorial Black Prize and is often compared to the best of Lytton Strachey's biographies. When Colonel Ralph Isham brought the famous Boswell papers to the States in the late twenties, he commissioned Scott to edit them. Scott was also a prominent figure in social and intellectual circles in London, Florence and New York. A protegé of Bernard and Mary Berenson, he spent many years living and working at the art historian's famous Villa I Tatti outside Florence (which, in fact, he helped create). Married to the wealthy Lady Sybil Cutting during the War, he had a tempestuous affair with Vita Sackville-West. Edith Wharton, John Maynard Keynes and other Bloomsbury figures were among his friends. This biography focuses particularly on his letters, found in the Villa I Tatti and almost entirely unpublished.

Reviews

"It is carefully researched, useful, and entertaining." B. H. Friedman in The East Hampton Star

". . . adds considerably to our knowledge of a period, a place, a culture, as well as one of its most fascinating individuals. Drawing extensively and intelligently on the treasure-trove of correspondence preserved at the Berensons' Villa I Tatti - including the mordant letters of that peerless observer Edith Wharton - Richard Dunn scrupulously constructs a compelling and richly rewarding narrative." - Lawrence Danson

"Richard Dunn, after many years of patient and perceptive research, has told the story of Scott's life, from its solid, middle-class English origins, through the colorful University years, into the Italy of the Berensons and their wide circle, and the New York of the late jazz age. It is a life that touched and affected many other lives, and Dunn brings these several worlds into sharp, dazzling focus. Even people who have never heard the name Geoffrey Scott, who have never seen one of his gardens or read one of his books, will be fascinated by this account." - William Weaver