Books: Her Own Most Inspired Poem

EDITH SITWELL by Victoria Glendinning; Knopf; 393 pages; $17.95

Critic F.R. Leavis once remarked, "The Sitwells belong to the history of publicity, rather than that of poetry." He was accurate, but incomplete: to be a Sitwell was also to elevate self-dramatization to the state of an art. Edith Sitwell made the case for herself and her younger brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell, with no trace of corrupting modesty: "We all have the remote air of a legend."

To Biographer Victoria Glendinning, Edith was her own most inspired poem, and she once described herself in a...

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