The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 7, 2013

September 7, 1887

Those whose art is topical and nothing else do not survive time's threshing. Edith Sitwell (September 7, 1887 to December 9, 1964) is such a case, and a puzzle is how contemporary evaluations can be so inaccurate. Yet the confusion of artistic judgments is an enduring feature of the cultural world. I cite Sitwell's title "Trio for two cats and a trombone" as an instance of a topical poem. 

Or when Sitwell writes of her family:

(We all have the remote air of a legend) brother whose ... grave beauty still reflect[s] The Angevin dead kings from whom we spring; And sweet as the young tender winds that stir In thickets when the earliest flower-bells sing Upon the boughs, was his just character.

there is no depth of analysis, merely description in a casual currency.

I actually found, the quote above ( speaking of unearned), in a book, The Sitwells and the Arts of the 1920s and 1930s (1994) edited by Sarah Bradford, who likes to write biographies of monarchs. Fortunately she has the sense to include Edith's cats in this book. In 1962 there were four cats in Sitwell's home( one of them was named Leo). Edith Sitwell explained this by saying "All poets love cats." 

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