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A Portrait of Zélide, Belle de Zuylen

Above are my three copies of Geoffrey Scott's The Portrait of Zélide. It was published in 1927. It's an absolutely terrific biography, which is why it keeps getting republished with introductions by literary superstars. Each one is practically as brilliant as the book itself. George Dangerfield writes his in 1959. Shirley Hazzard and Richard Dunn, in 1977. Richard Holmes, like Scott, a winner of the James Tait Black Prize, writes in 2004. Holmes informs us that Scott had told four different women "that Zélide’s biography was secretly and lovingly dedicated to them alone.” The women included "Mary Berenson, Edith Wharton, his wife Lady Sybil, and Vita Sackville-West." So who is this writer that is so undeservedly unknown today? She was an aristocratic Dutch woman...

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