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Sir Sacheverell Sitwell Biography

(1897–1988), The People's Palace, Exalt the Eglantine, Dr Donne and Gargantua, An Indian Summer

British poet and art historian, born in Scarborough, the brother of Edith and Osbert Sitwell; he grew up at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. His collections of poetry, notable for their delicate musicality and precise yet often mysterious imagery, include The People's Palace (1918), Exalt the Eglantine (1926), Dr Donne and Gargantua (1930), and An Indian Summer (1982); Collected Poems appeared in 1936. His principal work of fiction is Far from My Home (1931), a collection of ‘long and short stories’. Less of a public figure than Edith and Osbert, he proved a more prolific author than either, producing a long succession of books in which his interests in travel and art were combined; among the most valuable of these are Southern Baroque Art (1924), German Baroque Art (1927), and Spanish Baroque Art (1931), which did much to generate interest in the baroque period. His most notable single work as an art historian is the comprehensive British Architects and Craftsmen (1945). The Dance of the Quick and the Dead (1936) and Journey to the Ends of Time (1959) are erudite and imaginatively disquieting meditations on art, literature, and mortality; together with the opulently textured ‘autobiographical fantasy’ All Summer Long (1926), they form what is arguably his finest achievement. Biographies of each of the Sitwells are contained in Facades (1978) by John Pearson.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk