BANTING, JOHN.. STRACHEY, JULIA. A Blue Book of Conversation. London: Editions Poetry London., 1946.



STRACHEY, JULIA. A Blue Book of Conversation. London: Editions Poetry London., 1946. First edition. Large 4to., Original blue cloth lettered in gilt to spine; decorative yellow dust jacket ; pp. [vi], v, [i], 7-57, [i]; with title and a further 25 full-page illustrations, one double-page, all printed in blue. D/w worn and frayed with marginal loss. With a presentation nscription from Banting to Julia Strachey, form the library of her husband Lawrence Gowing.


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Julia Strachey, the daughter of Oliver Strachey, was born in Allahabad, India, in August 1901. After spending her early life with her parents she was sent to a boarding school in England. At weekends she stayed with the parents of Frances Marshall. Julia’s uncle was Lytton Strachey and she was a regular visitor to his home Ham Spray House in Ham, Wiltshire. She became a close friend of Dora Carrington, who lived with Lytton. Julia later recalled: “From a distance she (Carrington) looked a young creature, innocent and a little awkward, dressed in very odd frocks such as one would see in some quaint picture-book; but if one came closer and talked to her, one soon saw age scored around her eyes – and something, surely, a bit worse than that – a sort of illness, bodily or mental. She had darkly bruised, hallowed, almost battered sockets.”

Lytton Strachey’s house became a meeting place for a group of intellectuals described as the Bloomsbury Group. Members included Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes, David Garnett, E. M. Forster, Duncan Grant, Gerald Brenan, Ralph Partridge, Vita Sackville-West, Bertram Russell, Leonard Woolf, Desmond MacCarthy and Arthur Waley. She became especially close to Russell’s wife Alys Pearsall Smith.Virginia Woolf and Leonard Woolf established the Hogarth Press. Over the next few years they published the work of Virginia, Flora Mayor, Katherine Mansfield, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Robert Graves, T. S. Eliot and Edith Sitwell. In 1932 they published Julia Strachey’s Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. Virginia Woolf’s biographer, Hermione Lee, has argued that the novel was “an eccentric and witty story of a single difficult day at a wedding in Dorset, shows us what Virginia Woolf’s tastes were in contemporary women’s fiction.”

Julia Strachey separated from Stephen Tomlin in 1934. During this period, Julia made a living by writing short stories for magazines. In 1939 Julia Strachey began a relationship with the artist, Lawrence Gowing, who was seventeen years her junior. Gowing, who was a conscientious objector during the Second World War, married Julia in 1954.


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Book ID: 037017

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