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David Garnett Biography

(1892–1981), ménage à trois, Lady into Fox, A Man in the Zoo

British novelist and critic, born in Brighton, the son of E. and C. Garnett, educated at the Royal College of Science. Prominent among the younger associates of the Bloomsbury Group, he was involved in a famous ménage à trois with Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell while working on the land as a conscientious objector during the First World War. He subsequently ran a bookshop in Soho. His greatest success was his first novel, Lady into Fox (1922), a fantasy of metamorphosis in which a woman, transformed into a vixen, gradually becomes unmanageably wild. He continued his success with A Man in the Zoo (1924), in which a man unhappy in love successfully offers himself to a zoo as a human exhibit; The Sailor's Return (1925), in which a seaman attempts to live in a Dorset village with his black wife; The Grasshoppers Come (1931); and the biographical Pocohontas: or the Nonpareil of Virginia (1933). After many years he produced Aspects of Love (1955; later made into a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber); the fantasies Two by Two (1963) and The Master Cat (1974); and the historical novel The Sons of the Falcon (1972). Garnett published three volumes of autobiography, The Golden Echo (1953), The Flowers of the Forest (1955), and The Familiar Faces (1962); he edited the letters of T. E. Lawrence (1938), the novels of T. L. Peacock, and Carrington: Letters and Extracts from her Diaries (1979).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Richard Furness Biography to Robert Murray Gilchrist Biography