Authors Like Mansfield Found Solace in S France
“The shimmering azure of the Mediterranean, the dark green of the cypress trees, the scent of thyme, the sound of cicadas on the terrace at dusk … don’t we feel the pull of the French Riviera at this moment?” Ysenda Maxtone Graham writes for the Daily Mail. “It was a pull felt by six great writers and artists of the early 20th century [including New Zealand-born Katherine Mansfield] the subjects of [UK author] Julia Carter’s short, illuminating book of essays whose title, Sunlight And Shadows, is spot-on.”
“‘A sunny place for shady people’” is how Somerset Maugham described nearby Monte Carlo. All six characters in this book – Katherine Mansfield, Jean Cocteau, Edith Wharton, Maugham, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Aldous Huxley – came to the South of France carrying shadows from their pasts that ran on into the present,” Maxtone Graham writes.
“Carter’s book gives us a window into a paradise that was transient and often shallow, suggesting that these writers’ elaborate homes were in reality ‘carapaces within which they could hide themselves, half hoping to be discovered and half dreading it’.
“Thankfully for us, they did reveal their innermost thoughts and worries in their unsettling works.”
Original article by Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Daily Mail, June 17, 2021.