Carrington’s Letters, edited by Anne Chisholm review – life, love and the Bloomsbury group

Dora Carrington’s observations of the Bloomsbury set via her obsessive admiration for Lytton Strachey are revealing but exhausting

Dora Carrington was the star of her year at the Slade School of Art. But her life’s work was, in the end, not her painting; it was Lytton Strachey, the writer to whom, in spite of his homosexuality, she almost certainly lost her virginity. Was ever a woman more dotty about so highly unsuitable a man? In the annals of literary biography, certainly she takes some beating. Although she and Strachey lived together for most of her adult life, first in a mill house at Tidmarsh in Berkshire, and then nearby, at Ham Spray House, proximity did nothing to cool her fever, which burned from 1916 until 1932, when she took her own life following his death from cancer. Her long, cloying letters to him, compulsively scribbled whenever he was up ...