Vernon Lee (Violet Paget)

The Life of Vernon Lee

The Life of Vernon Lee

  • 1. Birth to childhood
    •  Vernon Lee was born in Chateau St.Leonard, France, on October 14, 1856. Her real name is Violet Paget.

      Matilda Paget

       Her father was Henry Ferguson Paget, and her mother Matilda Adams. She lost her first husband, Lee Hamilton, but was blessed with a son, James Eugene Lee-Hamilton. He was a half-brother for Violet.
       The Pagets moved from France to Switzerland, to Germany and to Italy. Born in France, she spent the first five years in Germany. In Germany, the family lived in Frankfurt, Baden, Kissingen, and Wiesbaden. Though for a short time, she stayed in Thun, a resort area in Switzerland. Especially in her childhood, German literature had a great impact on her. Peter Gunn, a biographer of Vernon Lee, claims that woods and Christmas tree were symbols of Germany for Lee.

      Vernon Lee in her childhood

       Violet had no schooling, but she was given education by a governess at home. When she was young, she had some relationship with John Singer Sargent, an American portrait painter, and his family, and among them Mary, John’s mother, had a strong influence on young Violet.
       In her childhood, Violet loved the stories of Arabian Nights, fairy tales, legends and folklores. Plus, she was strongly attracted to music and admired the music of Offenbach, Gluck and the 18th century Italian music.
       It was in 1862 when Violet first visited England. She spent the summer in the Isle of Wight.
       The family's nomadic life covering various parts of Europe lasted until 1873 when they settled in Genoa.

  • 2. Debut as a writer
    •  In 1870, Violet put a short story 'L'aventures d'une piece de monnaie' on a magazine La Famille in Lausanne in the name of Mlle V.P.
       In 1875, she began to use the name Vernon Lee and contributed essays on Italian music or drama to a magazine La Revista Europea. Since this time, her major interests which were to appear in her later works were already found: the interest in the past, and the equality between men and women. In 1877, she contributed 'Tuscan Peasant Plays' to Fraser's Magazine: it was the first publication of her in England.

      Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy

       Her first book Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy was published in 1880. Two years before, in 1878, she first met Mary Robinson in Florence. She was one of the most important female friends for Lee. Their relationship gave great impact on Lee and her works, and lasted until Mary’s marriage.

  • 3. Visit to England
    •  In 1881, Vernon Lee visited England to see Mary Robinson. Next year, she and Mary went to Oxford University where they met Walter Pater and John Addington Symonds. From both of them Lee learned a lot on art and on the Renaissance. During this stay in England, Lee met Oscar Wilde, William Michael Rossetti, Robert Browning, and other celebrities. These experiences led to Euphorion, one of her masterpieces. Also, she looked for a publishing company in England that could publish her and Eugene’s books.

  • 4. The publication of Miss Brown
    • Miss Brown

       In 1884, her first novel Miss Brown was published. This novel was considered roman à clef: some of the characters in this novel were created on real people including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Jane Morris, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and others. As a result, Lee made a lot of enemies. From the negative reactions, Lee thought of Miss Brown as a failure, but never recoiled. In 1888, her friend Mary Robinson got married, which gave serious shock to Lee and she became mentally sick. In the same year, she published Euphorion, her first art criticism.

  • 5. Fantastic Tales
    •  In 1886, Lee published A Phantom Lover: A Fantastic Story(the title of which was later changed to ‘Oke of Okehurst or The Phantom Lover’) was published. After that, Lee wrote a lot of fantastic stories. In 1890, she published Hauntings, her representative book of fantastic tales including ‘Oke of Okehurst’.
       In 1887, she met Clementia (Kit) Anstruther-Thomson, one of the most important friends of Lee. However, Mary Robinson got engaged with James Darmesteter, and Lee suffered from serious mental sickness. In 1888, Mary got married. Lee visited Tangiers in Morocco and Spain with Evelyn Wimbush to recover from sickness.
       In 1889, the Pagets rented Villa IL Palmerino in Maiano, Florence. This was her final abode, with some short-period absence for travels.

  • 6. Various Parting
    •  In 1892, a collection of short stories Vanitas: Polite Stories was published. ‘Lady Tal’ in this collection broke her friendly relationship with Henry James. In 1894, Walter Pater died. Parting with people who gave strong influences on Lee came one after another. Renaissance Fancies and Studies published in 1895 was dedicated to Pater. In the same year, Henry Ferguson Paget died.  In 1896, Matilda died. From 1897, Lee and her friend Kit began to put their research results on 'psychological aesthetics' on Contemporary Review, but Bernerd Berenson, an art critic, sued them for plagiarism.
       In 1898, Eugene got married with Annie Holdsworth. In 1900, Lee parted with Kit.

  • 7. New Friends
    •  In 1904, Lee began a friendship with H.G.Wells and he supported Lee for publishing books. In the same year, she met Edith Wharton for the first time.

      The Sentimental Traveller

       From 1905, she published travel books one after another: in 1905, The Enchanted Woods and Other Essays, in 1906, The Spirit of Rome, in 1908,The Sentimental Traveller were published. In 1907, she visited Egypt and Greece.
       In 1909, Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and Life, in 1912,Vital Lies and Beauty and Ugliness、and in 1913 The Beautiful were published.
       In September, 1907, Eugene passed away.

  • 8. World WarⅡ
    •  In 1914, World WarⅡ broke out. At that time, Lee stayed in England, so she couldn’t return to Italy. Since around 1904, she published essays which were critical of wars. In Satan the Waster, anti-war drama, she wrote: "war is always or ever the Greatest of All Evils."
       In 1911, she began to take part in activities against wars. After the war started, she made remarks sympathizing with Germany, and she was attacked by British people. In the preface to Satan The Waster, she wrote: "the Englishman and the German are both trying to put the responsibility on the enemy; or, briefly, that both of them are victims of war delusion and war superstition, which either disdains facts or uses them solely for its own purposes." Some of her friends such as Mary Robinson, Maurice Baring, and Ethel Smyth left her.
       In 1915, she published The Ballet of the Nations: A Present-Day Morality, whose theme is a war. In the same year, she joined Union of Democratic Control (UDC) led by Ramsay McDonald. At UDC, The Ballet of the Nations was recited. In 1920、Satan the Waster: A Philosophical War Trilogy was published and Lee returned to Italy.
       In 1921, Kit passed away.

  • 9. Her last days
    •  In 1923, the important work in her late career The Handling of Words and Other Studies in Literary Psychology was published. Next year, Art and Man , the book written by Kit and Lee added the preface to it, was published, and University of Durham granted her the doctorate. In 1927, her last collection of fantastic tales For Maurice: Five Unlikely Stories was published. In 1932, her last work Music and Its Lovers was published.
       In her last years, Vernon Lee suffered from the decline of hearing. In 1934, she visited England where she became sick and she couldn’t return to Italy. She was contracted with angina pectoris. On February 1935, Vernon Lee died at Il Palmerino at the age of 79. The books of her possession were left to The British Institute of Florence. She was buried in Allori in Florence. On the tomb the epitaph by J.C. Powell was inscribed:

       Numina quae fontes, silvas, loca celsa tenetis
        Nostram animam vestro credimus hospitio

               Vernon Lee

Family of Vernon Lee

  • Eugene Lee-Hamilton
    • Eugene Lee-Hamilton

       1845~1907. Eugene was born between Matilda and her first husband and was a half-brother of Violet. He studied at Oriel College, Oxford but dropped out of it because of infirmity. He spent secluded life throughout all life. Matilda doted her infirm son and some critics state that Matilda’s devotion to Eugene had a negative effect on Matilda and Violet. Vineta Colby, a biographer of Vernon Lee, points out at her hunger for mother’s love as one of the reasons for her being lesbian. (Vineta Colby, Vernon Lee p.7.)
       Violet’s nickname, Lee, was borrowed from her half-brother.
      Eugene published some books: poems (Apollo and Marsyas, and Other Poems)、a novel ( The Lord of the Dark Red Star) and others.
       It is generally said that Eugene’s poems are strongly influenced by his sister. However, Catherine Maxwell states that the influence was interactive, and she refers to Eugene’s poem ‘The Mandolin’ as an example. According to her, this poem influenced Lee’s short story ‘A Wicked Voice.’ In addition, she argues that the romantic, nervous character of Eugene gave inspiration to Lee when she created the ‘hypersensitive’ narrators of her short stories ‘Amour Dure’ and ‘A Wicked Voice.’ They had a lot in common: interest in Venus, repulsion against Baudelaire and Swinburne.
      Lee wrote about Eugene’s poem Elegy as follows: "The Elegy, fine in parts, completely lacks interest, & there is a great air of pedantry about it." Eugene wrote about Lee’s ‘Dinea’ in a letter: "in your method of telling through allusion you are often bewildering and half your readers won't understand you."
       Lee helped the infirm brother write. She wrote in a letter to one of her friends: "I am employed on Eugene's article, copying out and doing the fill up work for him, as he is too ill to apply himself much to anything." The brother was sometimes a burden to Lee.
      In 1898, Eugene got married with Annie Holdsworth, a novelist. In 1903, they were blessed with a daughter Persis, though she died before she become two.
       The details of Eugene’s ailment were not known. Chronic Fatigue Syndromecan be the cause.

  • Matilda Paget
    • Matilda Adams

       The mother of Vernon Lee, Matilda, was born in 1815 at Middleton Hall, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Her mother was Edward Hamlin Adams. The grandfather on the mother’s side made a fortune in British colonies such as Jamaica.
       Matilda was less than 5 feet high, loved music and played the piano well. She liked using archaic words such as “thee” and “thou.”
       The details about the first husband of Matilda, Lee Hamilton are still unknown. Peter Gunn supposes that Hamilton married Matilda from the economical reason. He also supposes that Matilda married Hamilton in order to extricate herself from the rule of the father. Violet thought of her parents’ marriage as ‘deplorable marriage.' They was blessed with a son, Eugene, but Hamilton died in 1852. After his death, Matilda left England to France. In Paris, she met Henry Ferguson Paget. He came to their house as a tutor of Eugene and they got married and gave birth to Violet.
      Vernon Lee wrote on her mother’s marriages: “her two husbands bored her and she gave them their liberty after having a child by each.”
       The relationship between Matilda and Violet seemed complicating. Matilda loved her first child Eugene and Violet thought that she was not as much loved as Eugene by her mother. Patricia Fulham wrote many essays in which she recognized the theme of mother’s love in Violet’s works. In her works, many signs indicating her relationship with her mother can be found: the existence of Matilda seems to be a key to understanding Lee’s works.
       According to Gunn’s biography, Violet said about her mother: "She could be most charming, was very pretty and most amusing, but a Tyrant."
       Matilda hated ministers and objected to church. Her skepticism on religion was taken over to her daughter. Gunn wrote: "She (Matilda) regarded all religions as inventions of ambitious priests." (Gunn, Vernon Lee, P.17.)
       In Handling of Words, Lee wrote about her mother. While Matilda had “progressive” point of view, she was also an old-fashioned woman and Lee learned “negative” aspects of writing from her mother. Violet went to write that Matilda was of the Western Indian family and brought up in the countryside of Wales. For French literature, Matilda loved Racine amd made a commitment to Euclid. While Matilda loved mathematics, Violet hated it.
       Lee said that her mother was extremely poetic and at the same time extremely prosaic and talked all the time. On the other hand, she was sentimental beyond description and jumped to her ideal. Her judgment was philosophically abstract and sentimentally individual, and lost her reason like a young child when it came to her family and was easily deceived by others. Lee observed her mother objectively.

  • Henry Ferguson Paget
    •  Henry Ferguson Paget, the father of Vernon Lee, was a man of middle-build, with a handsome face, blue eyes, and black hair. He was talkative and fond of sports, gardening and taking a walk. He was well-educated and intellectual but Peter Gunn states that Violet’s intelligence did not come from her father. He took little charge of his daughter’s education. Though being intellectual, he was inclined to sports and machinery and was inconsistent with Violet.
       Henry had no income and was dependent on incomes from the property of his wife’s father. The reason why Henry didn’t like staying at home and liked outdoor activities was to escape from his wife, Peter Gunn said.

Friends of Vernon Lee

  • Carlo Placci
    •  1861~1941. Italian writer. His mother was Mexican. He associated with Vernon Lee when Lee stayed in Italy. Placci admired the works of Lee and her brother Eugene and a friend of Bernerd Berenson. He was born in England and he thought of himself as a half-English. He had a lot in common with Vernon Lee such as a lover of travel, art and music.
       Though Lee was just a little older than Placci, she acted like a mother to Placci and they kept friendly relationship. Placci had ambition for being a writer and Lee was a mentor for him. Placci wrote a novel Un furto (1892) and others.
       In Baldwin and Althea, essays consisted of dialogues, Placci appears as one of the speakers, and ‘Introudction’ and ‘Epilogue’ of Juvenilia, the style in which the author speaks to Placci is adopted. Lee consulted Placci on her relationship with her family and that with Maryu Robinson. Lee seemed to trust Placci.
       Placci highly evaluated Lee’s works since Euphorion. However, when she got involvedin the problem of plagiarism with Bernerd Berenson, Plaaci took side with Berenson. Since then, friendship between Placci and Lee got sour. It was in 1932 when Lee presented Pllaci Music and Its Lover when their relationship was recovered. Pllaci took part in the funeral of Vernon Lee and wrote the obituary of Lee on La natione.

  • Enrico Nencioni
    •  1837~96. Italian critic. He translated Robert Browning’s poems into Italian. He was one of Lee’s friends who visited Lee’s house in Florence. The friendly relationship between Lee and Nencioni continued to the death of Lee, but Lee strongly objected to Nencioni’s views of religion: he was an ardent Catholic.
       As a literary critic, Nencioni wrote a review on Lee’s works such as Euphorion. While Lee was a forerunner of the study of music of the 18th century Italy, she criticized the contemporary critics as being negligent in terms of Italy in the 18th century. Nencioni criticized Lee saying that she overemphasized the contemporary critics’ negligence, but his reviews on Vernon lee’s books were generally favorable. He admired Lee saying "il critico sagace e immaginoso."
       Nencioni was an anti-vivisectionist and in that point, he sympathized with Lee.

  • Giovanni Ruffini
    • Giovanni Ruffini

       1807~1881. Italian writer, political activist. He is known for writing script for Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. He took part in ‘Young Italy’ and for that he was sentenced to death, and he sought asylum in England.
       In England, he used the name John Ruffini. His representative work is Dr.Antonio(1855). Lee’ elder brother Eugene highly estimated Ruffini’s novels and they formed a friendship.
       According to the biology by Colby, Vernon Lee’s interest in Mestastasio came from the conversation with Ruffni. She bought the biology of Charles Burney and other books on the 18th-centyry Italian music, which led to the idea of ‘A Wicked Voice.’ Ruffini helped Lee with her studying Italian culture and advised her on pubishing books.
       According to the biology by Colby, Vernon Lee’s interest in Metastasio came from the conversation with Ruffni. She bought the biology of Charles Burney and other books on the 18th-centyry Italian music, which led to the idea of ‘A Wicked Voice.’ Ruffini helped Lee with her studying Italian culture and advised her on publishing books.
       The narrator of ‘Dionea,’ Alessandro, was modeled on Ruffini.

  • Pasquale Villari
    •  1827~1917. Italian historian and politician. His representative works are Archivio Storico Italiano(1856) and Storia di Girolamo Savonarola e de' suoi tempi. He was an acquaintance of Vernon Lee. Lee gained knowledge on history from Villari’s works.

  • Ramsay McDonald
    • Ramsay McDonald

       1866~1937. Scotish politician. He became the first prime minister from Labour Party.
       He was an anti-war activist and resigned his post when the First World War broke out. After that, he served prime minister three times.
       The First World War began in 1914, Union of Democratic Control (UDC) was formed in order to put pressure on the government and MacDonald was one of the members of UDC. Vernon Lee was also an anti-war activist and took part in the campaign.

Female Friends of Vernon Lee

 Vernon Lee was a lesbian and poured passionate love toward female friends.

  • Annie Meyer
    •  From 1877 to 78, Annie Meyer visited Florence several times, and became acquainted with Vernon Lee. She was then married to John Meyer, but she formed a close friendship with Lee. By 1880, however, their relationship ended. In 1883, Lee knew the death of Annie and kept the photo of Annie posed over the bed until her own death. Also, she dedicated Countess of Albany to Annie in 1884.
       Baldwin published in 1886 consisted of the dialogue between Baldwin and Agatha Stuart and the model of Agatha was Annie, and that of Baldwin was Vernon Lee herself. Agatha was introduced as "that stubborn-looking Scotch girl" and embodied "absolute truth".

  • Alice Callandar
    •  Alice Callandar was the niece of Annie Meyer and a friend of Vernon Lee and a sister in law of Lady Archibald Campbell. She wrote novels and was a lady-in-waiting of Queen Victoria. When Annie was on the verge of death, Vernon Lee hoped to meet her, but Alice coldly rejected it.
       Peter Gunn argues that Lady Tal, the heroine of Lee’s short story ‘Lady Tal,’ was modelled on Alice. Alice asked Lee for advice in writing novels but she was criticized by Lee just as Lady Tal was criticized by Marion. In addition, Gunn also points out that the relationship between Lady Tal and her deceased husband reflects that between Alice and her husband. Alice’s husband was mentally sick.

  • Mary Robinson
    •  Poet and essayist. Around 1880, she met Vernon Lee in Florence for the first time, became her lover. In a letter on August 18, 1904, Lee described Robinson as "the first of my life.”
       She was a woman of mild character and was contrastive to Lee with an aggressive nature, but there was no ideological friction between them. Their friendship continued until Mary’s marriage. Lee’s essay Belcaro was dedicated to Mary.
       Mary wrote on the impression of Lee as follows: "She had soft blonde hair, benignant grey-green eyes, which gleamed through a a pair of huge, round eighteenth-century goggles; I can see the long column of her throat, the humorous, delicate, irregular features which made up such an eloquent and eager face; and escpecially I see the slender hands, with the fragile rétroussé fingers issuing from the starched cuffs of her tailor-gown. She looked at once audacious, refined, argumentative and shy. This young lady was Miss Paget (Vernon Lee)." (Peter Gunn, Vernon Lee, P.77.)
       Mary herself had an ability for literature and her first book A Handful of Honeysuckle was favorably valued by Andrew Lang. In 1883, she published the biology of Emily Brotë. (Emily Bronte) In the 1880s, she published a lot of books of poetry including The New Arcadia(1884), An Italian Garden and Other Lyrics(1886), and Songs, Ballads, and a Garden Play(1888). The End of the Middle Age (1889) is an essay on history. In Genius Loci, Vernon Lee wrote that Mary’s Philippe Le Cat was "splendid." About her novel Arden(1883), Vineta Colby wrote that it was a failure.
       Mary got married in 1888, which gave Lee a serious mental shock and for two years after the marriage, she suffered from sickness. The family of Mary objected to this marriage and Lee tried to dissuade her from being married, but in vain. Mary felt a pang of conscience knowing that Lee was exhausted.
       Mary’s husband was James Darmesteter, a French linguist and a professor of College de France. He was an authority of the ancient Persian. He was eight years older than Mary and admired Mary’s Italian Garden, translating it into French and publishing it in 1887. Lee wrote on Darmesteter as "very good, no doubt, and very learned." At the same time, she wrote that "he is dull, totally inartistic" and compared the relation between Mary and Darmesteter to that between George Eliot and her husband Lewis, and criticized it.
      Amy Levy
       Jewish poet and novelist. In 1885, she visited Vernon Lee in Florence. She wrote a poem titled 'To Vernon Lee.' She seemed to be in love with Vernon Lee, but Lee had a lover Mary Robinson at that time, so Amy’s love was unrequited. In 1889, she committed suicide.

       ‘To Vernon Lee'
       On Bellosguardo, when the year was young,
       We wandered seeking for the daffodil
       And dark anemone, whose purples fill
       The peasant's plot, between the corn-shoots sprung.

       Over the grey, low wall the olive flung
       Her deeper greyness; far off, hill on hill
       Sloped to the sky, which, pearly-pale and still,
       Above the large and luminous landscape hung.

       A snowy blackthorn flowered beyond my reach;
       You broke a branch and gave it to me there;
       I found for you a scarlet blossom rare.
       Thereby ran on of Art and Life our speech;
       And of the gifts the gods had given to each―
       Hope unto you, and unto me Despair.

  • Clementina Caroline Anstruther-Thomson
    • portrait by John Singer Sargent

       1857~1921. Scotish writer and known as Kit. While Vernon Lee was small, slender, Kit was tall, active, and quite different from feminine Mary Robinson. Lee was surprised to know that Kit looked like Annie Meyer. Lee described the first impression of Kit as follows: "a semi-painter, semi-sculptor, handsome creature, who is, or was, a great friend of Mrs. Callander's, with whom I am expected to make great friends." Furthermore, she wrote about Kit: "This girl has a very great charm and goodness and intelligence, and rather odd, half fashionable and half ramshackle manners, something simple and childish and at the same time grande dame."
       Peter Gunn, a biographer of Vernon Lee, wrote on the relationship between Lee and Kit:"she (kit) had been her (Lee's) closest companion and collaborator for more than ten years. But her nature was too dissimilar from Vernon Lee's. She was perhaps more than just a fine-looking woman; she was an altruist, with a wide variety of interests, extending from physical exercise to the fine arts; but no single activity could long sustain her interest."(Peter Gunn, Vernon Lee, P.165.)
       When Mary got married in 1888, Vernon Lee upset her health and Kit tried to substitute for Mary. The relation between Kit and Lee was opposite to that of Mary and Lee: Lee took the initiative in the relationship with Mary, that between Lee and Kit was reversed.
       Lee intended to bequeath her fortune to Kit, but she was disappointed that Kit made it a priority to caring Christine Head over the relationship with Lee.
       Three years after Kit’s death, Lee admitted in public that Kit was literally a disciple of her. Kit’s book Art and Man: Essays and Fragments was written under the guidance of Lee and Lee devoted long introduction to this book.
       Althea, one of the characters of the dialogue in Althea is modelled on Kit.
       Beauty and Ugliness was written in collaboration of Lee and Kit. However, for this book Bernerd Berenson accused them of plagiarism. Since this incident, Lee and Kit gradually became alienated and in 1904, they parted.

  • Irene Cooper Willis
    •  She was a close friend of Vernon Lee and their friendship lasted for about 25 years. She made various remarks on Lee’s characters. According to Lee, Lee told about herself: "I am hard. I am cold." Willis helped Lee write Music and Its Lovers. Lee appointed Willis to be an executor of Lee’s will and wrote on Willis in a letter to Willis: "I absolutely prohibit any biography of me. My life is my own and I leave that to nobody."
       According to Burdett Gardner, Willis said: "Vernon Lee was homosexual but she never faced up to sexual facts. She was perfectly pure....She had a whole series of passions for women, but they were all perfectly correct. Physical contact she shunned."

  • Ethel Mary Smyth
    • Ethel Mary Smyth

       1858~1944. British singer, composer, essayist, feminist activist and a friend of Vernon Lee. She composed ‘Shoulder to Shoulder,’ the anthem for the movement of women’s suffrage She was put into prison twice for the movement.
      Smyth called her female friends “cultes” and in 1900 after Lee’s parting with Kit, Smyth wrote on fer friendship with women:
       Myself, I believe the tragedy of her (Lee's) life was that without knowing it she loved the cultes humanly and with passion; but being the stateliest, chastest, of beings, she refused to face the fact, or indulge in the most innocent demonstrations of affection, preferring to create a fiction that these friends were merely intellectual necessities. (Gunn, Vernon Lee, P.167)

  • Helen Zimmern
    •  1846~1934. German writer and translator. In 1881, Vernon Lee met Zimmern at London for the first time and they became longtime friends. They had a lot in common such as being fluent in several languages. Zimmern wrote biologies of Schopenhauer and Lessing and translated Lessing’s Laokoon and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. These works of her influenced Lee.

  • Marie Stillman
    •  Her maiden name was Spartoli. Her husband was William James Stillman(1828~1901). William was an American journalist, writer and photographer. He initialliy hoped to be a painter, but later turned to be a journalist and engaged in the First World War as a journalist. Marie sat for Dante Gabrielle Rossetti’s picture.
       Vernon Lee first met the Stillmans around 1878 in Florence through Annie Meyer, a mutual friend of Lee and Stillman. Marie expected that Lee’s novel Miss Brown would bring her some trouble and wrote in a letter to her: "I am sure Miss Brown will cause you many 'dispiaceri' and altho' I know you love polemics and are indifferent to criticism I feel that you have done yourself great injustice and you will one day regret this work."
       On the other hand, on Marie sitting for Frederic Leighton’s portrait as 'Veronica Veronese,' Lee wrote thus: "a vile creature, with goitry, throat, red hair and German housemaid sentiment."

  • Henrietta Camilla Jackson Jenkin
    •  1807~1885. Maiden was Jacoskon. She was a novelist born in Jamaica and a friend of the Pagets. She got married with Charles Jenkin (1881~1885). After living in Paris and Genoa, she moved to Edinburgh. Her representative works are Wedlock (1841), The Smiths (1843), Lost and Won, or the Love Tested (1846), Cousin Stella, or, Conflict (1859), and Who Breaks, Pays (1861).
       Among Jenkin’s works, Lee loved Once and Again (1865) most, which is the novel set in Paris. Lee met Jenkins at Paris and wrote on her impressions: "rather eccentric character with a dramatic personality and a lively spirit".(Selected Letters of Vernon Lee, Volume 1, xxxix.)
       Lee supported Jenkin’s will to be a writer and looked for a publisher who could publish Jenkin’s books. A lot of letters Lee wrote to Jenkins are available.

  • Mary Berenson
    •  Mary Berenson is a wife of Bernerd Berenson and a friend of Vernon Lee. Her maidenname is Mary Smith Costelloe. When Miss Brown was published, she visited Lee in Florence with Oscar Wilde. Before getting married with Berenson, she published criticisms on Italian art in the name of Mary Logan. Mary respected Lee and when a trial started between her husband and Lee, Mary tried to settle it peacefully.

  • Marie Schülpach
    •  She served as a tutor of Vernon Lee from 1866 to 1874 when the Pagets lived in Thun and Violet began to show her talent. Vernon Lee loved this female tutor. They together read Goethe, the Grimms, and Schiller and played the music of Mozart and Bach.
       Lee wrote an essay titled ‘In Praise of Governesses' and there she wrote: "it is to our German governesses that we owe the power of understanding Germany, more than to German literature"(Hortus Vitae, PP.19~20.) She emphasizes the importance of the governesses in her childhood in terms of her understanding Germany. Lee wrote on Schülpach: "But best of all, dearest, far above all the others, and quite different, Marie. S., charming enthusiastic young schoolmistress in that little town of pepper-pot towers and covered bridges, you I have found again: I shall soon see your eyes and hear your voice, quite unchanged, I am certain."(Hortus Vitae, P.21.) Furthermore, she added: "our spiritual foster mothers who put a few drop of the milk of German kindness, of German simplicity and quaintness and romance, between our lips when we were children"(Hortus Vitae, P.22.)

  • Mona Taylor
    •  A friend of Vernon Lee and Kit. Lee wrote a lot of letters to Taylor, some of which disclosed Lee’s sentiment. Lee seemed to trust Taylor. Lee consulted Taylor on relationship with Anne Meyer and other female friends. Lee looked after Taylor with poor health.

  • Nicky Mariano
    •  1887~1968. She served as an assistant to Bernerd Berenson and was friend of Vernon Lee. Mariano wrote on Lee and "several manly-looking women": "Her (Lee's) face in spite of its snout-like ugliness was fascinatingly witty and intelligent. Somebody told me that her name was Violet Paget and that she wrote books as 'Vernon Lee.'" (Vineta Colby, Vernon Lee, P.175.)

  • Evelyn Wimbush
    •  Wimbush was a friend of Vernon Lee and they together travelled Spain, the expenses for which Wimbush paid. Wimbush’s affection toward Lee was so strong that Lee was a little perplexed, so Lee paidfor the expenses for travelling Tangier.
       Bernerd Berenson called Wimbush "Oscar a Rebours." Lee was not always so amicable to Wimbush but Wimbush was a devoted frined to Lee for her whole life. Wimbush wrote a letter to Lee to the effect: "You make me care for you, for I truly care for what you give as ideals of thought and life, but not in a cold intellectual way. You make me alive and warm and stir the best part of me....I know you like me to look at everything from a more intellectual point of view." (Vineta Colby, Vernon Lee, PP.175~76.)

  • Ottoline Morrell, Ottoline Cavendish-Bentinck
    •  1873~1948. She got married with Philip Morrell and was called Lady Morrell. She had a wide circle of friends including artists, literary people, and other intellectuals. She was a friend of Vernon Lee and visited Lee’s house in Italy. Morrell was surprised that Lee wore male clothes and smoked in public. Lee hoped Morrell to play the role of Kit for her but Morrell rejected it. However, their friendship continued and during the First World War Lee visited Morrell’s house in Garsington where Lee met Lytton Strachey and Bernerd Berenson.
       The husband of Morrell Philip was imprisoned on the charge of rejecting military service. Lee and Morrell had the same idea in terms of anti-war.

  • Augustine-Bulteau
    •  1860~1922. A French novelist and journalist. Her friends called her Toche and she held a salon at which her female friends gathered. She called her female friends "Mes Vampyres." Under the penname of Jacques Vontade, she wrote essays on Englnad and Englishmen. Her most famous work is L’âme anglais(1910), which was translated into English.
       Around 1904, she began to form a relationship with Vernon Lee. Bulteau consoled Lee when she was depressed due to problems related to love. Bulteau seemed convinced that Lee would not force her to form a sexual relationship. Lee wrote as follows: "Her (Bulteau's) need of me, which is purely intellectual and moral, is the best part of her, as distinguished from her habit of domination and the not very justifiable means she employs to that end."
       When the First World War began, Lee made remarks supporting Germany and argued with H.G.Wells on Nation. Bulteau as a French criticized severely against Lee.

  • Bella Duffy
    •  She is a daughter of an Irish doctor. She was a beautiful, intelligent woman and wrote essays on Mrs. Staël. Other works of her are The Tuscan Republic (1893) and others.
       She met Vernon Lee for the first time in 1880 in Florence. When Lee visited England, she stayed at Duffy’s house in Kensington. Duffy translated Mnemic Psychology Richard Semon, a German writer, into English and Lee wrote a long introduction to it. After World WarⅠ, when Duffy was in economic trouble, Lee helped her. Lee’s Proteus, or the Future of the Intelligence published in 1925 was dedicated to Duffy. Duffy died in 1925 and Lee was greatly shocked by her death.

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