Feb. 18th, 2011

purejuice: (azucar)
E-mails dispatched verbatim:

I could not find the pearl/Sackville West vision I was looking for, in which Woolf sees her beautifully lit, draped in pearls, at the butcher, is it? At Sevenoaks.

In Vol. III of the Diary (1925-30), there are several references to Vita and her pearls.

21 Dec. 1925:
....mingled with all this glamour, grape clusters & pearl necklaces, there is something loose fitting.

23 Nov. 1926
[Death,] "The one experience I shall never describe' I said to Vita yesterday. She was sitting on the floor in her velvet jacket & red striped silk shirt, I knotting her pearls into heaps of great lustrous eggs.

4 July 1927
Vita very opulent, in her brown velvet coat with the baggy pockets, pearl necklace & slightly furred cheeks.

21 April 1928
Oh & Vita...has had a stupendous row with her mother -- in the course of which she was made to take the pearl necklace from her neck, cut it in two with a pocket knife, deliver over the 12 central pearls, put the relics, all running loose, in an envelope the solicitor gave her.

And so forth.

As for Virginia herself owning or wearing pearls, it seems to me I recall that what jewellry she had inherited was sold during her long illness of 1913-15, presumably to pay the bills. I'll spelunk around and see what I can dig up.

As for pearls representing the clitoris, per one of the scholarly citations, I am a long time student of power dressing for women. Queen Elizabeth II's badge of authority in her daytime clothing is a huge honkin' five-strand pearl necklace, worn with various different diamond brooches and pearl earrings. She is never without the necklace, and has worn it to the office every day since 1953. Her gender, as monarch, is aristocratic femme, something not well understood in America, and I submit that whether Sackville-West was crested or cloven, her pearls represented to herself and to Woolf nothing quite so tedious as a clitoris. They represent authority, as Lady Sackville well knew in snatching them from her daughter's neck.

[And what I didn't add:] You are all fashion tards.

Sincerely,

PJ

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