A selection of autograph letters signed, sent between 1890 and 1896, by Austin to Violet Maxse, later Lady Edward Cecil, and later still, Viscountess Milner.

Creator

Alfred Austin (1896–1913).

Title

A selection of autograph letters signed, sent between 1890 and 1896, by Austin to Violet Maxse, later Lady Edward Cecil, and later still, Viscountess Milner.

Date

1890-1896.

Description

An astonishing and somewhat inappropriate correspondence between a British poet laureate, writer, politician, polemicist, and gardener and an exceptionally beautiful aristocratic girl, beginning when Austin was 55 and Violet was 18. Austin, infatuated from the moment he met her, writes Violet ardent letters in a style he calls “arrested poetry,” in some cases advising her to destroy his letters (she did not). Many pages bear the stains and shadows of violets, which the author of “The Garden That I Love” had strewn through the letters. At other times Austin asks her to return manuscripts of his latest writings he had sent her to read (again, she did not). This selection is derived from a substantial archive (ca. 1,000 pages) of Austin’s letters and autograph drafts of plays and poems.

Other remarkable men developed their own “cult” for Violet. These included Georges Clemenceau, Rudyard Kipling, Edward Burne-Jones and Cecil Rhodes. She married, firstly, Lord Edward Cecil, whose father, Lord Salisbury, as prime minister, appointed Austin poet laureate, and when Edward died, Viscount Milner, the secretary of war in the World War I war cabinet. (Violet’s only child died in that war.) Daphne du Maurier has described Violet as the “most formidable woman in England.”

Source

David N. Redden

Tags

Citation

Alfred Austin (1896–1913). , “A selection of autograph letters signed, sent between 1890 and 1896, by Austin to Violet Maxse, later Lady Edward Cecil, and later still, Viscountess Milner. ,” Grolier Club Exhibitions, accessed December 19, 2018, https://grolierclub.omeka.net/items/show/403.

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