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Tosh Berman on "Taken Care Of: The Autobiography of Edith Sitwell"
February 8, 2023
Taken Care Of by Edith Sitwell (Published by Bloomsbury Reader, 2012)
For some reason, the one thing that surprised me is that Edith Sitwell quotes Arthur Rimbaud's poetry a lot in her memoir Taken Care Of. For some reason, I didn't think the Prince of French punk poetry's work would get along in the eccentric world of Edith Sitwell - but there you go! This is a book of little and not too many major surprises. For instance, I didn't know she lived at the Sunset Tower on the Sunset Strip (West Hollywood, California), nor that she greatly admired Dylan Thomas. She didn't like D.H. Lawrence and is quite snooty towards many people. On the other hand, it seems she adored Marilyn Monroe.
The memoir started strongly in a narrative way with her relationship with her parents when she was a child, which wasn't so hot. After that, the book jumps around time-to-time with no strong narrative impulse. Sort of whatever entered Sitwell's head at the time of writing is what stayed in the final version of the book.
I wished she had written a more significant chapter or even a whole book on her experiences in America, especially Hollywood. Still, this is a nice portal or entrance into the brain of Sitwell, but it's not the extraordinary memoir that one would hope for.
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