Sex, scandal and bad behaviour in literary and aristocratic 1950s London - a moving account of this extraordinary woman - a Guinness, married to Lucian Freud and Robert Lowell, whose life was surrounded by some of the great literary and society figures of the twentieth century.
Caroline Blackwood was a journalist and novelist. She was born into the Guinness family in 1931 and was on intimate terms with some of the most celebrated artists of her time. Her first husband was the painter Lucian Freud, her second the composer Israel Citkowitz, and her third the poet Robert Lowell.
Caroline and Lucian became part of an artistic and literary group that included Francis Bacon and Cyril Connolly but eventually Freud's drinking and gambling became too much and she left him. Her most trying times, however, were during her seven-year marriage to Lowell who suffered from paranoia and acute depression. Lowell died from a heart-attack having fled from their house in Ireland, clutching a portrait of her painted by Freud.
Caroline published her first novel at the age of thirty-eight: 'The Stepdaughter', a study of female rage. Her gifts lay in satirising human behaviour. Her most successful book, 'Great Granny Webster', which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, was described by John Betjeman as "powerfully malicious". In all, she wrote ten books of fiction and non-fiction and has been compared to Edna O'Brien, Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark and Samuel Beckett. She died on Valentine's Day, 1996, aged 64.
Nancy Schoenberger has interviewed Blackwood's former lovers, friends and enemies including Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Miller, Elizabeth Hardwick, Jonathan Raban, Geordie Grieg and her formidable mother Lady Maureen, 4th Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, with whom Caroline had a famously contentious relationship. She has drawn together the many strands of her remarkable life into an elegant and extremely poignant biography.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 09 / 2002
- 127 x 195mm