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All Passion Spent (VMC) by Vita…

All Passion Spent (VMC) (original 1931; edition 1983)

by Vita Sackville-West, Joanna Lumley (Introduction)

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9394513,978 (4.06)276
Title:All Passion Spent (VMC)
Authors:Vita Sackville-West
Other authors:Joanna Lumley (Introduction)
Info:Virago (1983), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West (1931)

  1. 20
    Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge (GeraniumCat)
    GeraniumCat: Thematically similar to All Passion Spent this wise and gentle book is much less well-known and makes an interesting comparison.

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» See also 276 mentions

English (43)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West; (5*)

What a beautifully written novel!
"All Passion Spent" is about a woman in her late eighties whose husband has just passed away and who finds herself suddenly with the freedom to do as she likes with the remainder of her life. Up until now, she has lived for her husband and her six children.
The children expect her to sell her home, which she does, and share the remaining years she has with them; rotating months between their homes. But Lady Slane has a very different idea for the years she has left. She wants to live very privately in the countryside with her one devoted servant and far from all of her family. She yearns for peace and quiet. So ignoring all of their demands upon her, she does exactly that.
Not a lot happens in this novel, but it is not what happens that invades the mind and spirit of the one reading it. It is the getting there, the prose, the language of the book that is taken into one's heart, treasured and held there that matters. This is simply a beautiful story and one I won't forget for a long time. ( )
3 vote rainpebble | Feb 15, 2019 |
An odd book - I kept expecting her to burst out of yet another set of expectations and start painting, but she really did just want calm. She didn't get it, but that's what she wanted. A sweet ending, though I hope Deborah never figures out she was the last one to see her. I liked her odd little court, Bucktrout better than FitzGeorge - the latter was (as he admitted, several times) completely self-centered, an egotist. He liked playing with her, and she enjoyed it too, but if she'd ever tried to follow up on his confession he'd have been horrified. Funny about Kay, too - links. And he'll probably never get an answer to his question, both of those who knew having escaped him. It is a little odd to have long passages in untranslated French - not, apparently, odd for the time (the Lord Peter books, written about the same time, do the same thing), but somewhat awkward for a modern reader (well, OK, awkward for me). I bet there are footnoted versions of the book, but that's not what I have. Nor do I think I missed anything important. I didn't enjoy it as much as I do Mrs. Miniver - Lady Slane's ruminations on her life and that of those around her are less interesting to me - but it's still interesting. Glad I read it, I may well reread in a while. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Apr 30, 2018 |
Saw the movie first. It was very good too. We can't know Deb's thoughts in the film so that was a good addition. ( )
  mahallett | Jan 26, 2018 |
This book was mentioned when I read 'Second Nature'. This novel is about an 88 year old woman who loses her husband a prominent political figure in England in the 1860's. She decides it's time for her to be true to herself and do just what she wants, much to the dismay of her 6 children. Very poetically written, she things back on her life where she gets swept away in customs of the time as she disavows her true self. Very sweet and melancholy. ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 24, 2017 |
When 90-year-old Lord Slane dies, his six children and their spouses come to the home of their mother and condescendingly pat her hand while they plan her future. Ah, but Lady Slane has already made a different plan -- a plan of independence and solitude that she’s been dreaming of through the decades that she devoted to her husband, children and public service.

If you like English-literature classics (including Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own), you’ll like this 1931 novella. If you like quiet stories about aging (for example, Taylor’s Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont and Pym’s Quartet in Autumn), you’ll like it. It called to my mind Kate Chopin’s short-short work, “The Story of an Hour” which captures in a brilliant flash the devastation of going-along vs pursuing one’s own interests. This novella captures it also, though the extended rumination dulls it a little.

(Review based on a copy of the book provided by the publisher.) ( )
  DetailMuse | Sep 17, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sackville-West, Vitaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glendinning, VictoriaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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His servants he with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismist,
And calm of mind, all passions spent.
Samson Agonistes
For Benedict and Nigel
who are young
this story of people who are old



First words
Henry Lyulph Holland, first Earl of Slane, had existed for so long that the public had begun to regard him as immortal.
Vita Sackville-West began writing All Passion Spent in the spring of 1930. (Introduction)
Man has founded his calculations upon a mathematical system fundamentally false. His sums work out right for his own purposes, because he has crammed and constrained his planet into accepting his premises. Judged by other laws, though the answers remain correct, the premises would appear merely crazy; ingenious enough, but crazy.
Of course, she would not question the wisdom of any arrangements they might choose to make. Mother had no will of her own; all her life long, gracious and gentle, she had been wholly submissive - an appendage. It was ssumed that she had not enough brain to be self-assertive. "Thank goodness," Herbert sometimes remarked, "Mother is not one of those clever women." That she might have ideas whcih she kept to herself never entered into their estimate.
Henry by the compulsion of love had cheated her of her chosen life, yet had given her another life, an ample life, a life in touch with the greater world, if that took her fancy; or a life, alternatively, pressed close up against her own nursery. For a life of her own, he had substituted his life with its interests, or the lives of her children with their potentialities. He assumed that she might sink herself in either, if not in both, with equal joy. It had never occurred to him that she might prefer simply to be herself.lf.
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Book description
"For a life of her own, he had substituted his life with its interest, or the lives of her children...It had never occurred to him that she might prefer simply to be herself."In 1860, as a young girl of seventeen, Lady Slane nurtures a secret, burning ambition: to become an artist. She becomes, instead, the wife of a great statesman, Henry, first Earl of Slane, and the mother of six children.  Seventy years later, released by widowhood, she abandons the family home in Elm Park Gardens much to the dismay of her pompous sons and daughters.  Retiring to a tiny house in Hampstead she recollects the dreams of youth and enjoys the mellow present in the company of those she has chosen.  There is her French maid Genoux, her house agent Mr Buchtrout, her painter and carpenter Mr. Gosheron, and lastly Mr FitzGeorge, an eccentric millionaire who had met and loved her in India when she was young and very lovely.  Lady Slane finds at last - in this world of her own - a passion, one that comes with the freedom to choose; this, her greatest gift, she passes on to the only one who can understand its value.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0860683583, Paperback)

In 1860, as a young girl of 17, Lady Slane nurtures a secret, burning ambition—to become an artist. She becomes, instead, the wife of a great statesman and the mother of 6 children. Seventy years later, released by widowhood, and to the dismay of her pompous children, she abandons the family home for a tiny house in Hampstead. Here she recollects the dreams of youth, and revels in her newfound freedom with her odd assortment of companions: Genoux, her French maid; Mr. Bucktrout, her house agent; and a coffin maker who pictures people dead in order to reveal their true characters. And then there's Mr. FitzGeorge, an eccentric millionaire who met and loved her in India when she was young and very lovely. It is here in this world of her own that she finds a passion that comes only with the freedom to choose, and it is this, her greatest gift, that she passes on to the only one who can understand its value. First published in 1931, Vita Sackville-West's masterpiece is the fictional companion to her great friend Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:16 -0400)

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A Christmas story about reuniting with the one person that's hard to forget. This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list ?getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago, Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It's time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on. So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother's men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters. As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.… (more)

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