Vita Sackville West
- Category : Writers-Fiction
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (48)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 1
British poet, novelist, and world-renowned horticulturist, gifted and complex.
Sackville, a member of the famed Bloomsbury group, wrote more than 50 books of poetry, short stories, and novels. She would later write a weekly gardening column for The Observer. Upon her death, her son Nigel Nicolson released her diary, "Portrait of a Marriage" to the public which outlined her lesbian love affair with Violet Keppel Trefusis, her married school chum. The triangle relationship between Sackville-Trefusis and Vita's husband, homosexual British former diplomat, Harold Nicholson, raised many eyebrows in England.
Sackville's mother was the illegitimate daughter of Pepita, a Spanish dancer and "Old" Lionel Sackville-West, a British diplomat posted in Washington DC. Her mother was raised in a Paris convent. She married Lionel Sackville-West and they raised their daughter Vita at Knole. She was the descendent of an aristocratic family whose Gothic manor house, Knole, in Kent, England was a gift from Elizabeth I. Sackville lived in the splendid home with 365 rooms and set within a vast deer park. At the age of 12, Vita had already started writing poetry and short stories. In 1905, she went to Miss Wolff's School in London for three years. In the autumn of 1909, Vita and her mother visited Russia. Vita made her debut into society in June 1910. After her marriage to British diplomat Harold Nicholson, the two lived abroad in Constantinople. She missed England and hated the expatriate life; she returned to Kent while her husband continued his diplomatic service.
Sackville-West published her first poem, "The Land" in 1926. She went on to publish short stories and novels such as "The Edwardians" in 1930 and "All Passion Spent" in 1931. Her husband returned to England and resigned his diplomatic post in 1929. He worked as a journalist, critic and biographer of Swinburne and George V. Vita and her husband were snobs, and were greatly disappointed when Harold was not given a peerage from King George V after writing his biography. They considered lineage, wealth and titles important in their social circle and stayed clear of the middle class. At their home at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, Sackville and Nicholson worked on the creation of one of Britain's most beautiful gardens. Sackville wrote gardening advice in her column for The Observer in the 1940s and 1950s.
Sackville-West first met Harold Nicholson at a society dinner party in June 1910. They married at Knole on 10/01/1913 and honeymooned in Italy and Egypt. Vita gave birth to their first son Benjamin on 8/06/1914. She delivered a stillborn son on 11/03/1915. Their third son, Nigel Nicholson, was born on 1/19/1917. In 1918, Vita began her lesbian love affair with Violet Keppel. Leaving her children at home, she traveled to Cornwall and France to be with her lover. In her diary, Sackville-West recorded her three-year affair and obsession for Violet. In that time, Violet married; however the two continued their affair. In 1921, Vita returned to Harold and the boys but continued to have affairs. The couple stayed in their marriage but explored their sexuality in homo-erotic affairs that did not pose any threat to the marriage. Sackville-West derived little pleasure from motherhood and preferred to send her boys away for eight months out of the year.
In January 1962, Sackville-West suffered from internal hemorrhages which she managed to conceal from her husband. She finally underwent an operation but doctors found that she was in an advanced stage of cancer. She died at Sissinghurst, Kent on 6/02/1962.