Storyline: The dualistic dancer successfully uses fire as a transformative substance in both her fiction and her realities, in order to try to elevate herself to the same creative level as the rest of her longtime family.

Tama Janowitz (1957) - American writer. Outer: Of Polish and Hungarian descent. Mother was a poet and assistant professor of literature at Cornell Univ. Father was a neo-Freudian psychiatrist. One younger brother. When she was 5, the family moved to Amherst, Mass. Five years later, her parents divorced, and she went to live with her mother, who supported her brood with poetry grants. Got an MfA from Columbia Univ., and a fellowship at Princeton, as well as an NEA grant in 1986. Small and big-haired and highly social, she fell in with the Andy Warhol crowd in NYC, although unlike them, eschewed drugs and stimulants, having subconsciously learned her lesson from her previous go-round in this series. A natural self-promoter, in 1986, she handed out promotion flyers for her collection of short stories, Slaves of New York, at the tony Four Seasons restaurant. Although subsequently asked to leave, she had made the desired impression, and within short order was a literary celebrity, appearing on magazine covers, in ads, and in gossip columns, as part of a crew, along with Bret Eason Ellis and Jay McInerney, dubbed ‘the literary brat pack.’ Thoroughly enjoyed her mediagenic moment in the glitterati sun as a verbal cartoonist of note of a certain slice of decadent downtown NY, as “Slaves," made it to the big screen in far less memorable fashion, despite her writing the screenplay and appearing in a small role in it. Continued in a similar vein, with 6 more satirical renderings, while gradually fading from the nightlife scene, to settle into more conventional domesticity. Met her husband, Tim Hunt, on a blind date, following the death of Warhol in 1987, when he came over from England to help assist in the disposing of the latter’s estate. The duo married in her early 30s, and he became the curator of the Warhol Foundation. One adopted daughter from the union. Following her heyday, as a ubiquitous media presence, she has lowered her profile considerably, while maintaining her self-appointed role as a sharp-eyed observer of specific urban scenes, preferring situations and types to characters, and sharply stylized wit to soaring prose. Inner: Infectiously good-humored, highly observant, and self-protective. Realized lifetime of integrating a sense of fun, with a sense of accomplishment and purpose, after earlier allowing herself to deliberately self-immolate, so as to arise anew and phoenix-like from her own mad ashes. Zelda Fitzgerald (Zelda Sayre) (1900-1948) - American writer. Outer: Youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. Spoiled by her mother, although her father was quite removed, giving her a dualistic view of the world, which make for great internal confusion later on. Largely an indifferent student, and totally capricious, doing whatever she pleased, showing an extraordinary flair for having fun, and attracting endless attention from all the boys in her set in the process. Read a lot, with a particular liking for fairy tales. Also smoked and drank a little, in a display of teenage insouciance, while one of her favorite phrases was, “What the hell.” Grew up a society belle, and a golden-haired lookalike to F. Scott Fitzgerald, to whom she became engaged, after meeting at a country club dance, then rejected because of his lack of money, and finally married at 20, after his initial literary success, despite viewing him in a negative light, one daughter from union. Although attached to her daughter Scottie, she allowed her to be brought up nannies, and was frequently absent from her life. Thanks to her husband’s fame as a novelist, the duo became the literary lights of their social world in NYC, which was ablaze with alcohol and irresponsibility. Gloried in the attention, and the adulation of the media, while spending the first half of the decade increasingly obliterated as the very embodiment of its carefree excesses. May have had an affair with a dashing French pilot, which caused her spouse to lock her up for a while to prohibit her seeing him again. Her brief incarceration at the hands of her partner may have precipitated her subsequent mental illness. Began writing during this period, although several of her stories were published under F. Scott’s golden name. Heavy partying, as well as a fear of being consumed by the intoxication of fame led the couple to move to the Riviera in France, when she was in her mid-20s, in order to try to gain some control over their lives. Became obsessed with ballet dancing, practicing 8-10 hours a day in her room and began to suffer mental breakdowns, which were later diagnosed as schizophrenia. Wrote more short stories while in confinement, but always felt herself under the shadow of her husband’s reputation. It was later discovered that her spouse liberally plagiarized from her letters and diaries. Completed one novel, Save Me the Waltz. After her 2nd breakdown, she was put in a series of sanitariums and hospitals, ultimately winding up in North Carolina, where she perished in a fire when the hospital burned down, oddly mirroring the fate of the hidden mad wife in Jane Eyre. Inner: Self-destructive, albeit highly creative, with a great need for self-expression. Glimpses of writerly talent showed through her short stories. Burnt-out lifetime of being overwhelmed by celebrity and attention, with a fiery ending that would wind up as a symbolic transformation to ultimately allow her her freedom to reclaim her creativity. Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) - British writer. Outer: 3rd daughter of Patrick Bronte (Owen Jones), an Anglican curate, and Maria Bronte (Vanessa Beecroft), with two younger sisters and one younger brother. When she was four, her family moved to the moorland village of Haworth, where she grew up. After the early death of her mother from cancer in 1821, she participated with her siblings in creating the magical kingdoms of Gondal and Angria, all carefully detailed in prose and drawings, while the singular most important man in her life would always be her father, an eccentric romantic who oversaw a household geared towards the towering imaginations of his children, with little censorship over what they could read. Raised by her mother’s sister, Elizabeth Branwell (Kathy Acker), who inspired respect rather than love in her. When her 2 older sisters, Marie (Jean Rhys) and Elizabeth (Elizabeth Bowen) died of TB, she was removed from school and stayed home until she was 15, during which time she poured forth on paper, penning plays and stories around the worlds she created, many in conjunction with her brother, P. Branwell (Bret Eason Ellis), and written in tiny letters, so as to be deliberately hidden from adult eyes. All of the children participated in these mutual imaginings, which grounded them to such extent, that when they were away from home, they felt at a complete loss. In 1831, she was sent off to Roe Head school for 18 months, with the proviso she would teach her younger brother, and her 2 remaining sisters, Emily (Hilary Mantel) and Anne (Mary Gaitskill), on her return. Short, under 5’, plain and bespectacled, with large hazel eyes and a great initial desire to be a poet or artist. After completing school and tutoring her siblings, she was invited back to Roe Head as a teacher in 1835, but hated the work, and after 3 years she returned home sick and dispirited, only to become a governess, which she found equally unpleasant. Taught in Brussels in a boarding school, fell passionately in love with the proprietor’s husband, which was unreturned, then suffered a nervous breakdown after the 2 became estranged. Returned home once again, and turned down two marriage proposals while beginning her writing in earnest, publishing a book of verse along with her two sisters in 1846, taking on the nom de plume of Currer Bell. Used her artistic skills to flesh out her characters, and create background scenery, as if she were rendering paintings into words. Put her Brussels experience into a novel, reversing its actualities, but it was rejected seven times. Finally enjoyed success with her first novel, “Jane Eyre,” a romance between a shy governess, her brooding patron, a mad wife and a burning house. Nevertheless, the headmaster of her old school threatened to sue her over her unkind representation of his institution, and though she promised she would make more complimentary changes in the book via letters, she never did. Suffered the serial deaths of her siblings Branwell, Emily and Anne within the next 2 years, and put her grief into her writing, again gaining recognition from it. Met her ultimate biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell (Mary Gordon), who would distort the Bronte legacy, after being asked to write a biography of her by her father two years after she died. Visited London several times, experienced unrequited love again, and continued her literary output. Accepted a proposal by a curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, whom she probably did not love, and married him in 1854, in what proved to be a brief, albeit happy union. Her father, however, refused to attend the wedding because of his disapproval of her mate, who had been his curate for seven years. Died of a cold shortly afterwards, complicated by her pregnant condition. Her subsequent literary reputation would suffer until modern times, when her defects of craft would be reexamined through the pure passion of her storytelling skills. Inner: Sensitive, shy, studious, responsible and intelligent, as well as plagued with self-doubts. Also snobbish, and capable of great anger and vitriol, because of the responsibilities thrust upon her. The death by fire of the mad wife in “Jane Eyre” was a portent of her own release to come from repressed madness in her next go-round in this series. Romantic lifetime of struggling against the fates, and the severe limits of her life, while using her shared magical childhood to open her imaginative mind to the possibilities of its artistic and literary heights and depths. Stella Dell’Assassino (fl. 15th cent.) - Italian mistress. Outer: Little recorded of her actual life. Probably from a colorful family, judging by her name. Also known as Stella de’ Tolomei. Became the favorite mistress of Niccolo III d’Este (Kenneth Tynan), the marquis of Ferrara, out of the hundreds he maintained, and had three sons with him, including two of his successors, Leonello (Owen Jones) and Borso (Bret Eason Ellis). Inner: Hidden lifetime of ongoing association with longtime family members as an unrecorded but vital cog in their procreation. Aelia Placidia (Aelia Galla Placida) (c390-450) - Roman empress. Outer: Daughter of the Roman emperor Theodosius I (Kenneth Tynan), and half/sister of the Western emperor Honorius (Bret Eason Ellis) and the Eastern emperor Arcadius (Roald Dahl). When Rome fell to the Goths under Alaric (Napoleon Bonaparte) in 410, she was captured and carried off to Gaul and made to marry the brother-in-law of Visigothic chieftain Alaric (Napoleon Bonaparte) in 414. When he was assassinated the following year, she was returned to the Romans in 416, and the following year, she reluctantly married Constantius III (Bernardo Bertolucci), by whom she had Valentinian III (Ethan Hawke), as well as a daughter, Justa Grata Honoria (Joan Crawford). After quarreling with her brother Honorius, who had incestuous designs on her, she was forced to flee to Constantinople and was restored by the eastern army to the Western throne, overseeing her 6 year old son’s installation as emperor in 425. Acted as regent for the first dozen years of his reign, and maintained a dominant influence over him until the rise of Flavius Aetius (Gene Autry). By 433, she moved into the background again, putting her considerable energy into pious works, as well as embellishing Ravenna, with Byzantine art and architecture, including a number of churches, one of which, the Church of the Holy Cross, became her burial site. Inner: Strong-willed, but forced into playing roles others created for her. Support lifetime of placing her political will against the martial tenor of the times, and ultimately leaving her artistic tastes and sensibilities as her legacy.


Storyline: The chronically crocked chronicler drowns his creative wellspring in the illusions of hedonistic high-living, through an ongoing inborn need to curb his sensitivity and sensibilities through unhappy excess and the insensate flooding of his interior with dulling spirits.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald) (1896-1940) - American writer. Outer: Father was an unsuccessful aristocrat, who worked for Proctor and Gamble, mother was the eccentric daughter of an Irish grocer. Only survivor of 4 children. Named for his distant relative Francis Scott Key (John Mellencamp), the composer of America’s national anthem. When his father was fired from his job, the family moved back to Minnesota where he was privately schooled, before finishing his early education on the east coast. Had an upper-middleclass Roman Catholic upbringing, and saw himself as a young lost prince. Always felt the dual pull of his parents. Wished to be rich and to be ecstatically in love with a trophy wife. Small, handsome, and quite charming. After prep schools, then found himself at Princeton, where he was highly active in its cultural programs. Flunked out, returned, then dropped out to join the army as a provisional 2nd lieutenant, with the hopes of going to France, although they never materialized, since the war ended shortly after his enlistment. Met Zelda Sayre (Tama Janowitz), daughter of an Alabama judge at a country club dance, went to New York to earn his fortune, but instead the engagement was broken because he was not rich. Went on an epic drunk, and then wrote a sentimental bestseller, This Side of Paradise, which was initially rejected. The duo were married in his mid-20s, one daughter from union, and both became the center of the NY literary world, largely through their combined gift for partying and drunken excess. Used his wife’s diaries for material, and, after a 2nd success, the fears that they would both burn out, thanks to their free spending and even freer drinking, caused the family to move to the Riviera, where he wrote his masterwork, The Great Gatsby, published in 1925, a tale of the illusions and corruption of wealth. Remained an icon of ‘the lost generation,’ but by this time, he was heavily addicted to alcohol, which impaired his ability to work, while his wife’s growing schizophrenia resulted in the first of 2 nervous breakdowns in 1930, which became the basis for Tender is the Night. Dipped ever deeper into alcoholism and depression, while suffering from cirrhosis and tuberculosis, and turned to short stories to support himself. With his marriage spent, as well as the coin of his fame, after his wife was committed to a sanitarium, he went out to Hollywood in 1937, and lived with a well-known English-born gossip columnist, Sheila Graham, who helped him past his drinking habit, and began writing screenplays, for which he was well paid, while also starting his fifth and final novel, The Last Tycoon, which he never finished. Stopped drinking, but died of a second heart attack in his mid-40s. Inner: Extremely narcissistic, deep sense of personal exclusion. Believed in money as the avenue to happiness. Astute chronicler of his projected social milieu, but with a prophetic sense of his own doom in doing so. Dreadfully self-destructive, albeit highly ambitious. Surface-skimming lifetime of living out both his dreams and his dreads against the pressures of fame, fortune and self-inflicted misfortune, only to continually stretch himself beyond his material and spiritual resources. Bret Eason Ellis (1964) - American writer. Outer: From a well-to-do conservative Republican family, raised in Southern California. Father was a real estate analyst, maternal grandmother wrote children’s books. Oldest of 3, with 2 younger sisters. His unloving, abusive father wanted him to be a businessman but his mother encouraged his creativity. The duo eventually divorced. Attended private schools, and then Bennington College, where his short sketches were made into the bestselling, Less Than Zero, a chronicle of the idle empty progeny of the Southern California rich. Its immediate acclaim at a relatively tender age, led to alcohol abuse and a series of unpleasant novels with little to recommend them other than their unrelieved, soulless horror and endless catalogue of contemporary products. In 1991, he wrote American Psycho, a degraded work on a yuppie serial killer, which caused its original publisher to cancel it, before it was picked up by a second house, and subsequently became a bestseller. Never able to touch on the artistry of his first work, he became an empty celebrity, with little else to say, once he had purged his youth of its artistic potential. A homophile, whose one longterm relationship ended with the death of his partner in 2004, which spurred copious amounts of alcoholic intake and “Lunar Park,” an autobiography of sorts with more sensationalistic claims in an attempt to infuse his life with some sense of inner meaning. Continues to be much-maligned by critics, despite having his literary champions, as well, while turning his more recent creative energy towards screen-writing, having returned both literally and figuratiely to his Southern California roots, after many a year as a NYC wingless butterfly. Inner: Shy, self-confessed Southern California Victorian. Deadpan wit, and an addictive personality, with an inability to transcend his ongoing draw towards self-destruction, both socially and literarily. Less than zero lifetime of tasting early fame, and its bitter delimiting aftereffects. Patrick Branwell Bronte (1817-1848) - British writer and ne’er-do-well. Outer: Part of the famous Bronte brood, the only male member of the gifted siblings, and 4th of the 6 children. Father Patrick (Owen Jones) was a self-educated parson who moved the family to the Yorkshire moors in 1820, mother Maria (Vanessa Beecroft) died of cancer when he was 4. Raised in turn by her sister Elizabeth Branwell (Kathy Acker), who came to live with the family, and for whom he felt a genuine attachment. Gifted in languages from an early age, he invented his own, and was initially viewed as the family genius. 2 older sisters, Marie (Jean Rhys) and Elizabeth (Elizabeth Bowen), died of TB. Given a box of wooden soldiers afterwards, which became the playworld of the Glass Town Confederacy. The fantasy was carefully documented in prose, drama and verse, and along with his sister, Charlotte (Tama Janowitz) he created the imaginary kingdom of Angria, which proved the highlight of his creative life. A talented artist, his sister Charlotte arranged for his education in London, but he returned home immediately. Further art lessons ended in a sense of defeat, and his writing ambitions were also curtailed, as he failed to make the transition from imaginative youngster to productive young man. Fired as a tutor, he worked as a railroad clerk, but was also let go for his erratic behavior. After another tutorial turn and a failed romance, he turned to drink and drugs in order to deal with his problems, eventually succumbing to the family affliction of romantic early death, without knowing of his sisters’ literary successes. Died of despair at 31. Inner: Imaginative, with a singular passion for self-destruction. Foreshortened lifetime of a magical childhood with longtime companions, which, unfortunately, left him unprepared for adulthood and the far less supportive world-at-large. Borso d’Este (1413-1471) - Italian Renaissance noble. Outer: Son of Niccolo III d’Este (Kenneth Tynan), a hard-living Renaissance Prince with a score of wives and some 800 mistresses. His mother was the former’s favorite mistress with the memorable name of Stella dell’Assassino (Tama Janowitz). Youngest of 3 sons of the latter, including Leonello d’Este (Owen Jones), and older half-brother of Ercole I d’Este, who would succeed him. Quite different from his scholarly sibling, having remarked early on that nothing would please him more than to die a noble death on the battlefield. Originally sent to Padua for a church education, before being dispatched at 18 with 100 men to fight for Venice, but proved a better talker than fighter, ignominiously escaping death later on by fleeing a losing battle. Used by his sire for his own aims, by secretly ordering him to fight for the Milanese against the Venetians and then blaming the switch on the duplicity of his son. Eventually retired from the field of honor in 1440, without achieving any of his valorous objectives. Returned to the Ferrara court, which his brother Leonello now headed, and adopted himself to the princely life there. When his sibling died in 1450, he played the role of prince to the hilt, dressing in expensive jewels and finery in public, and two years later, bought a ducal title from the HRE for a stiff yearly stipend. HIs imperial fiefs of Modena and Reggio were then raised to a duchy, and he became the first Duke of Ferrara. Preserved the high cultural standards of his brother, so that his court was a center of the visual and aural arts, while he maintained an alliance with Venice against the Milanese and Florentines, and the Sforza and de’ Medici families which dominated those city-states. May have been a homophile. Never married, and left no heirs. Very into pageantry and display, but showed little real skill at rule during his twenty years at the helm of his duchy, preferring ostentation and grandiosity to genuine wise command. Despite his limitations, he always made himself extremely accessible, walking the streets of Ferrara and allowing people to address him directly with their problems, giving them the illusion of a caring monarch. Proved to be extremely popular because of this touch, despite excessive taxation to maintain the extravagance of his court, and was genuinely mourned when he passed away, passing on the mantle of Ferrara to his far more talented younger half-brother, Ercole I. Inner: Far more into form than substance, without the talents of the other members of his illustrious family, save for that of approachability. Passionate reader of Romance adventures in the original French. Surface-skimming lifetime of playing the role of prince, rather than truly being one, but largely getting away with it, thanks to a very solid support crew both preceding and post-ceding him. Flavius Honorius (383-423) - Roman Emperor. Outer: 2nd son of Theodosius I (Kenneth Tynan). Made Augustus at the age of 8 by his father, and then succeeded him as western emperor in 395, dividing the empire into its eastern and western contingents with his older brother Arcadius (Roald Dahl). Dominated by the Vandal-Roman general Stilicho (Duke of Wellington), whose daughter, Maria, he married in 395, and who was married to his cousin Serena. The union was childless, and ended with her death in 407, following which, he married her sister Thermantia, who also predeceased him in 415. Stilicho served as both regent and guardian of his elder brother as well, which divided the imperial courts, making him a public enemy in the east. Because Stilicho created a cold war environment twixt the 2 halves of the empire, and did not defend well against the German barbarians, he inadvertantly helped in bringing down the western empire. During his reign, invaders swept across Gaul and Spain, while the usurper Constantine III (Tim Buckley), established himself in the former. Britain was abandoned in 410, and Rome fell the same year to the Visigoth Alaric (Napoleon Bonaparte), forcing the emperor to seek refuge with his court behind the marshes of Ravenna, which became his capital. Eventually recovered much of Gaul and Spain, thanks to a talented general, Constantius (Shannon Hoon), who became joint emperor in the west until his death in 421. Shocked the public with his overt caresses of his half-sister Placidia (Tama Janowitz), who was exiled and fled to Constantinople. Died from dropsy. Inner: Extremely devout, gentle but obstinate and double-dealing. Also not very bright. When told Rome had fallen, he thought the message meant his pet parrot of the same name, and remarked ‘But I just fed her.” Pagans and heretics were persecuted under him, while the western army was denuded of much of its former strength. Puppet lifetime of being a negligible presence on a major throne, allowing the course of his/story to flow around him, without having the strength to be anything more than an empty figurehead.


Storyline: The one-time water-logged writer undergoes various emotional and physical traumas that make her feel like an alien in her own body, while the clarity of her electrifying mind remains as penetrating as ever.
Dame Hilary Mantel (Dame Hilary Mantel) (Hilary Mary Thompson) (1952) - British writer. Outer: Of irish descent. Born into a Catholic family, and filled with guilt about the faith of her birth, which made her a deeply introspective person. Mother left school at 14, father was a clerk. The oldest of three, with two younger brothers. A voracious reader from childhood on, feeling Charlotte Bronte’s (Tama Janowitz) “Jane Eyre” was a kindred spirit to her. One day when she was quite young, a lodger named Jack Mantel moved in to create an extremely awkward household, because of her parents’ strained relations. Frail, thin, and small as a child. Spent her early years living in the village of Hadfield, surrounded by numerous relatives, until hostile reaction to her unconventional familial set-up caused them to move to a small town in Cheshire, at which point her parents separated and she never saw her father again. Took on Mantel’s surname at this time. Desperate to leave home, she felt she was ill-suited by the childhood given her on a host of levels. Went to a convent school, then studied law at the London School of Economics, before getting her degree from the Univ. of Sheffield, although never practiced, and instead became a hospital social worker, then labored as a dept. store sales assistant. In 1972, she married Gerald McEwen, a geologist, whose work led her to Botswana, beginning in 1977, and then an agonizing four years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she felt she was living in the Middle Ages. The experience also allowed her to re-look at her homeland during periods of leave, from the perspective of being a quasi-outsider. In 1979, while living in London, she had her womb, ovaries and part of her bowels removed as a result of chronic endometriostic, which ultimately bloated her body to tent-like proportions, making her feel as if she were an exhausted stranger in it. Also divorced her husband during this period and then remarried him several years later. Worked as a journalist and film critic while producing a steady stream of novels and essays, as well as a memoir, “Giving Up the Ghost” in 2003. Moved to East Devon and set up her writing room so that she had an unobstructed view of the sea as a continual source of inspiration. Finally achieved fame when she won the Man Booker Prize in 2009, with “Wolf Hall,” the first of a trilogy based on the life of the anti-Catholic statesman Thomas Cromwell (Chris Patten) of the 16th century. Following her husband’s retirement, he became her business agent, since her works now had considerable commercial cachet. Won her second Booker Price for “Bringing up the Bodies,” and became the first woman and English citizen to do so. The tome was the second in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, with the third set for 2015 publication. Made a Dame by O.B.E. in 2014. Had the first two parts of her “Wolf Hall” produced on Broadway by the Royal Shakespeare Company whiie a BBC TV production reached American shores at the same time. Inner: Generous, witty, and surprisingly brutal on the printed page, revealing a dark mind capable of quite violent fantasy. Highly cerebral, and extremely self-confident in her abilities. Ardent feminist and controversialist, unafraid of publicly expressing her opinions. Feels she’s one of nature’s Protestants and should never have been brought up Catholic, a religion she continues to blanketly denigrate. Likes to write about the overlooked. Room of her own lifetime of continuing to cement her unusual place in English letters, in her usual alienated form as a keen observer and critic of the human condition. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) - British writer. Outer: Daughter of a prominent English critic, Leslie Stephen. 3rd of 4 children. Also had 4 older half-siblings. Her beloved beautiful but remote mother died of rheumatic fever when she was 13, a half-sister and older brother also died young, leaving her death-obsessed. Her father was inconsolable after the demise of his spouse, while she seethed in resentment toward him, although later worked her way through to more positive feelings about him, despite her negativity towards his patriarchal overview and his old-fashioned esthetics. Her sister was well-known artist Vanessa Bell (Vanessa Beecroft), who became the surrogate mother of the family. Sexually molested as young girl by one of her half-brothers, which left her with a mistrust of men. Also felt rebellious against her father’s old-fashioned patriarchal view, but wished to emulate his literary career, and was educated at home by her parents and tutors. When her father died in 1903, she suffered one of her worst mental breakdowns, then she, Vanessa, and her 2 brothers set up house in Gordon Square WC1, and it became the center of the Bloomsbury Group, a loose crew of incestuous intellectuals interested in freeing themselves from the deadening grip of Victorian propriety. In 1912, she married writer and editor Leonard Woolf, and with him, moved to Hogarth house in Richmond, in 1915, the same year she published her first novel, The Voyage Out, and also had one of her most volatile episodes of her recurring mental instability. Had an affair with the writer Vita Sackville-West, whom she probably regarded as a substitute mother. Her husband approved of the linkage, as he did with her and other women, since she was a less than an enthusiastic priapic partner with him, after the early part of their marriage. With her spouse, she founded Hogarth Press 2 years later, which published her books. In 1924, she moved back to London, where the press would also find a home. Experimented with form and substance in her novels through stream-of-consciousness, while giving voice to the plight of creative women in a man’s world, most notably in To The Lighthouse and The Waves, a psychological study of 6 children, considered her best work. Liked to write one or more rough drafts of a work, then type out the revisions, sometimes as many 8 or 9. Wrote nearly 4000 letters, as well as a 30 volume diary, in addition to critical essays, and the metaphoric, A Room of One’s Own, asking for independence for female writers. Struggled with anorexia, insomnia and headaches, and sometimes heard voices. Her sense of self gradually deteriorated, while she tried to use writing to regain herself. Ultimately committed suicide by putting a stone in her pocket and walking into the river Ouse, which was nearby her summer home, in order to drown herself. Inner: Frigid, high-strung and unstable, permanently damaged by childhood. Thin-skinned, terrified of “real life,” as well as self-exposure. Self-involved and neurotic, with extraordinary literary sensibilities. Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf, turned out to be Ms. Woolf herself. No real room of her own lifetime of experimenting with literature, and expanding her intellectual scope, while allowing her fears to slowly take her over. Emily Bronte (1818-1848) - British poet. Outer: Fifth of the brooding Bronte brood of six siblings, including Marie (Jean Rhys), Elizabeth (Elizabeth Bowen), Charlotte (Tama Janowitz), Branwell (Bret Eason Ellis) and Anne (Mary Gaitskill). Father Patrick Bronte (Owen Jones) was a parson who moved the family to the Yorkshire moors in 1820, and created a stimulating environment to bring out the extraordinary collective imagination of his children. Mother, Maria (Vanessa Beecroft), who, like her husband was an avid reader and writer, died of cancer in 1821. Raised by her mother’s sister Elizabeth Branwell (Kathy Acker), whom she respected rather than loved. Suffered through the deaths from TB of her 2 older sisters in 1825, then participated with her surviving siblings in imaginative and highly detailed realms as a child. Along with her sister Anne, she created the breakaway kingdom of Gondal, from which she probably never fully emerged, spending the rest of her life contributing to its mythology. The most athletic and healthiest of the siblings, with the greatest innate sense of craft and storytelling skill. Unhappy at boarding school, she was sent home, and found her solace in the bleak moors, which united her with her equally deep imagination. Spent a few cheerless months as a teacher in 1837 and 1838, before returning home once more. Briefly entertained the idea of opening a school, then went to Brussels with her sister Charlotte to teach before coming home once more to take care of their father. Adopted the name Ellis Bell, and began putting her thoughts to paper in both poetic and prose form, publishing a book of poetry under her nom de pen with her 2 surviving sisters. Her best known work was “Wuthering Heights,” published in 1847. It would be her only novel, a tragic tale of doomed love set against the moors, which destroys its passionate protagonists, although it was initially ill-received, despite ultimately being viewed as a classic, and the eventual subject of numerous dramatizations both on stage and in film. Came down with a cold at her brother’s funeral, which soon developed into pulmonary tuberculosis. Willed her own demise at 30, refusing any kind of medical attention, preferring to stoically embrace that ultimate of romantic endings, death in the full bloom of youth, and was followed soon afterwards by her sister Anne. Inner: Mediumistic channel, able to meld with her natural surroundings. Mysterious, impenetrable from the outside. Brooding lifetime of a magical childhood with her brother and sisters, and then a deep connection with her gothic home and its surroundings to draw out the artist within, before an early exit to cement her romantic legacy in the canons of western literature. Madeleine de Scudery (1607-1701) - French writer. Outer: From a military family, father was captain of the port of Le Havre. Sister of George de Scudery (Owen Jones). By the time she was 7, her father had died. Raised by her mother in the Rouen home of an uncle with court connections and a large library, where she developed a lifelong love of reading. After her mother’s death in 1635, she went to live in Paris with her brother, and became an integral part of Catherine Rambouillet’s (Jessica Mitford) salon. Wrote a four volume his/storical novel, Ibrahim ou L’illustre Basse, under her brother’s name, which was published in 1641, and a year later did the same with a second work. Georges probably collaborated on the first, although afterwards, she was the main author of the rest of her oeuvre. Moved near Marseille with her sibling in 1644 for 3 years, because he was made captain of a fortress there. Returned to Paris, but failed to get a position as teacher for Cardinal Mazarin’s (Francois Mitterand) nieces, and continued living with her brother. Remained neutral during the Fronde uprising, while her brother was later forced to flee Paris. Continued producing multi-volume novels under her brother’s name, which were her only source of income. After 1661, she published anonymously, but her reputation was such, that her output were attributed to her. Dedicated her latter works to Louis XIV (Charles de Gaulle) who ultimately rewarded her with a small pension in 1683. Ultimately the leading literary hostess in Paris, with her own salon, founded in the early 1650s, which was dubbed the Societe du samedi. Known as Sappho to her friends, despite being openly criticised and satirized by her literary enemies. Most of her works were translated in English soon after publication, giving her a dual European voice. Inner: Physically ugly, but esteemed for her virtue. Clever and highly social. Long and largely uneventful lifetime of feeling her power as both hostess and thinly disguised chronicler of her milieu, as virginal observer and purveyor of a powerful imagination. Isabella d’Este (1474-1539) - Italian duchess. Outer: Daughter of Ercole I d’Este (Bernardo Bertolucci), the Duke of Ferrara. Mother was the daughter of the king of Naples. One of 6 children, including Beatrice d’Este (Hilary Mantel), Alfonso I d’Este (TIm Buckley) and Ippolito I d’Este (Jeff Buckley). Extremely well-educated, thanks to her father’s court, which attracted a dazzling array of teachers, artists, musicians and poets. Played the lute, was well-read and had a natural inclination towards study and thought. Golden-haired with sparkling black eyes. Betrothed at the age of 6, and married at 16 to Francesco Gonzaga, the marquis of Mantua. Her husband was far more interested in fighting than courtlife, although he employed Baldassare Castiglione (Robert Graves), as head of an excellent diplomatic service that he maintained. Largely unbothered by her spouse, she replicated her father’s court, and filled her castle with paintings and sculptures, while raising Mantua to a pre-eminent cultural position. Corresponded with many well-known artists and poets, while amassing a huge library. Her focus was largely on her own dwelling, so that the city was not enhanced by her combined rule, and few buildings were erected during the nearly four decades she reigned. Nevertheless, she became known as “the First Lady of the Renaissance,” thanks to her eminent position, as well as being related to a majority of the rulers in Italy. Following her husband’s death in 1519, she served as regent for her eldest son Federico II, who would become the first Duke of Mantua. Continued to exercise control of policies even after her son reached his majority several years later, Able to make her son a captain-general of the church and to restore her nephew to power in Milan, thanks to her diplomatic skills, while helping make Mantua a duchy. Also able to further the careers of her others sons, in a highly memorable go-round, Inner: A talented musician, she harbored exquisite taste, as well as both the drive and the acumen to make her wishes manifest during a time when women usually played a passive role in matters of state. Quick and witty conversationalist, as well as an accomplished singer and lute player. Passionate lifetime of serving as an exemplary model of the Renaissance noblewoman, adept at not only cultural pursuits, but politics and diplomacy as well, in an all-around display of such skill, that would she would become a figure of the ages. Aelia Eudocia (Athenais) (c393-460) - Roman empress. Outer: Daughter of a Grecian sophist philosopher, Leontius (Owen Jones). Educated by her father in every branch of learning. Known for her great beauty, she also had a talent at versifying. At her sire’s death, she was left with virtually nothing. Instead he told her that her luck was greater than all women, and bequeathed his modest fortune to his two sons. Went to Constantinople to complain, and, as luck would have it, wound up marrying the eastern emperor Theodosius II (Harold Nicholson) and becoming Augusta of Rome in 423. Baptised and rechristened Eudocia, and her sister-in-law Pulcheria (Vita Sackville-West), took charge of her education. Their daughter Eudoxia (Bette Davis) eventually married the future emperor, Valentinian III (Ethan Hawke). Their court, however, was dominated by Pulcheria with whom she soon had strained relations. Made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 438 and 439, but after she returned, the emperor suspected her of having extra-marital relations when she lied about a symbolic gift of a huge apple. After having 2 ecclesiastics put to death because of her jealousy, she found herself excluded from courtlife and went into exile. Spent the rest of her life in Jerusalem, where she devoted herself to works of charity and piety. Became an ardent Monophysite for a while, although returned to orthodox Catholicism and was buried in the basilica of St. Stephen, which she had founded. Did some writing, including religious verse. Inner: Highly expressive, and probably ultimately guilt-ridden about her excessive use of power. Blameworthy lifetime of incarnating in a position to be directly in the realm of dominance, only to ultimately forsake it for simple piety and charity in order to make amends for her misuse of it. Sappho (c612-580BZ) - Grecian poet. Outer: Little known about her life. Probably was an aristocrat who belonged to the cult of Aphrodite, the love goddess, and was a celebrator of her own womanhood. Had three brothers, and was closest to the youngest. After being forced to leave Sicily for political reasons as a child, she eventually settled in her mother’s native city on the isle of Lesbos, where she continued her spiritual and emotional communion with Aphrodite, along with a female following, who provided an audience for her poetry. Probably married and had a daughter. The fragments of verse that have survived her are paeans to womanly love, and are of highly personal nature, exploring the inner world of her own feelings. Legend had it she leaped from a cliff over the spurned love of a handsome Grecian youth, although that would have been opposite her inclinations, and was probably a nervous reinvention for those who came later and could not countenance her love for the goddess rather than the god. Strongly affected the literature that followed her, while giving a name, lesbian, and a mythos to the love that dare not speak its name between women. Inner: Passionate, had a great love of nature, with a simplicity and clarity of expression. Herstory-shattering lifetime of giving a base to the love lyric of western literature, while serving as its ongoing female archetype for lyrical expression and gyno-eroticism.


Storyline: The former tragedy-plagued paterfamilias continues to open himself up to the wounded heart of the world in his steady morphing into an insider/outsider voice of the left, looking to redefine society-at-large as well as himself.
Owen Jones (1984) British journalist. Outer: Family had been socialists for three generations prior to his birth. Grandfather was a Communist, and his parents were labor-oriented Trotskyites and militant activists. Grew up in northwestern England. Father was a senior trade union shop steward, mother was an IT lecturer at Salford Univ. One of four children. Deeply imbued with leftist politics and class struggles from early on in life, which would become his passion. Also realized he was a homophile from a young age, and had no trouble accepting his orientation. Read his/story at University College, Oxford, and graduated in 2005, before getting a Master of Studies in U.S. his/story in 2007. Despite his academic credentials, he deliberately maintained the Macunian accent of his upbringing to give him working-class bona fides. Moved to London after university and worked as a trade union lobbyist and researcher for the Labor Party, before launching a highly public writing career, which would rankle many, while making him an odd superstar of the left to others. Began writing for a variety of journals, as well as making TV appearances as a political commentator, gaining the opprobrium of those who see him as a young twit out of his depth. Others, however, feel he is the precise voice needed to articulate their views. Member of a left-wing think tank, the National Advisory Panel of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies. His first book, “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class,” came out in 2011. Chav is a 21st century pejorative for young asocial lower class louts with little sense of style or purpose. The book was well-received by some as an incisive critique of the working class and its steady disempowerment and ridicule by both the left and right. Followed it up with “The Establishment and How They Get Away With It” three years later, further exploring the self-empowering machinations of the ruling class, while cementing his position as a youthful voice of the anti-neoliberal left, winning several prizes for his writings, while also being seen as a glory-hound with his own self-interest at the heart of all his pronouncements. Inner: Very aggressive public speaker, and often the subject of snarking. Glib, facile and prone to sweeping generalizations. Able to make his ideas plausible, although unable to argue with himself, for fear of softening his positions. Polemicist at heart, with a similar thirst for both power and influence as the very objects of his vituperative critiques. A voice of his own lifetime of raising his visibility and adding to his verbal weight by disconnecting from his longtime family in order to explore far more deeply his own alienation from perceived leftist and rightist norms. Leonard Woolf (1880-1969) - British publisher, writer and journalist. Outer: From a liberal Jewish background. Family was bourgeois, but not religious. Father was a barrister, 3rd of 9 children, with a 10th dying in infancy. 2 of his siblings would commit suicide, while one sister was mentally unstable. His sire died when he was 11, but he was able to educate himself through scholarships, first at St. Paul’s School, while his mother also used her limited funds to educate her children, who then supported her. Became an atheist in his teens, and always remained skeptical about religion. Nevertheless, he had a strong sense of evil in the world, and developed a protective shell around himself in response. Slight and austere, with a lifelong hand tremor, and a sense of being an outsider because of his religion. Attended Trinity College, Cambridge, on scholarship, where he hobnobbed with numerous future Bloomsburyites, and was elected, as the first Jew ever, to the prestigious Apostles, a conversational society that held many members of the intellectual elite of his generation. Unlike them, he had to work for a living, and entered the Colonial Service in 1904, laboring as a civil servant in Ceylon for 7 years, where he proved himself an effective administrator, although eventually lost faith in British imperialism, through his firsthand view of governmental mismanagement and hypocrisy. Later wrote about his experience in a novel. Left the Service and in his early 30s, married Virginia Stephen, after falling head-over-heels for her. The marriage, however, was probably never fully consummated, despite some early indelicate diary entries to the contrary by her. With her, he became a center of a crew of English artists and literateurs known as the Bloomsbury Group, although he soon grew quite bored with their incessant partying. Closely guarded his wife’s health and time, in a mutually interdependent and quite loving union, while allowing her to indulge in her predilection for women, since the two had little in common sexually. Kept careful records of everything, proving to be an efficient administrator in their marriage and joint literary ventures. Published 2 novels, before beginning the Hogarth press with his spouse in 1917, in order to publish modernist writings they liked. Began with their own works, and soon established a flourishing enterprise, despite an initial total lack of experience on both their parts. Joined the Fabian Society, wrote two books on consumer cooperative socialism, studied international relations, edited the International Review, and from 1919 to 1945, served as secretary to the Labour Party’s advisory committees. Very active as a journalist in left-wing circles, he unsuccessfully ran for Parliament in 1922, then became joint editor of the Political Quarterly in 1931, holding that position until 1959. Also served as literary editor of the Nation during the 1920s. Laid some of the groundwork for the English welfare state, as well as the League of Nations and United Nations, while writing tomes on his fields of expertise. After the death of his wife by suicide in 1941, he retreated more into himself, ultimately producing his crowning work, a long 5 volume autobiography, published during the 1960s. Had a quarter century romantic liaison with Trekkie Parsons, the wife of the publisher he eventually entrusted Hogarth Press to, and led a highly active life, traveling, writing, reading, socializing and gardening until he died at near 90, after suffering a stroke, having outlived all of his contemporaries. Inner: Serious, reserved and stoical with a highly developed social conscience, as well as a quiet passion for improving the world. Rational and commonsensical, an anti-imperialist internationalist. His wife probably acted out whatever instability his reserved persona would not allow him to express. Caretaker lifetime of dealing with his well-loved longtime daughter/mate’s instability, while putting his muted passions into literature and politics, and his talents into getting a host of things done. Patrick Bronte (Patrick Brunty) (1777-1861) - British curate and paterfamilias. Outer: Son of illiterate peasant farmers and the oldest of 10. Taught himself to read, and was determined to become a teacher, despite being originally apprenticed to a blacksmith. Changed his name from Brunty to Bronte, a Greek word meaning ‘thunder,’ and showed a strong drive to greatly improve his lot. Studied theology at St. John’s College, Cambridge on a scholarship, and proved himself academically superior, earning his degree in 1806. After being ordained as an Anglican evangelical the following year and becoming a parish priest, he married a fellow avid reader and writer, Maria Branwell (Vanessa Beecroft) in his mid-30s. Five daughters and a son from the union, including Marie (Jean Rhys), Elizabeth (Elizabeth Bowen), Charlotte (Tama Janowitz), Patrick (Bret Eason Ellis), Emily (Virginia Woolf) and Anne (Mary Gaitskill). In 1820, the family settled into Haworth, a parsonage on the English moors. His wife died from cancer in 1821, much to his everlasting grief, as her sister Elizabeth Branwell (Kathy Acker) took over her duties at the house. Came very close to death himself, and was always concerned with his health afterwards, withdrawing from his children, although never stopping worrying about them. Encouraged them to explore the moors and never censored their reading material, creating an extremely imaginative environment for them to explore their rich inner worlds. Misrepresented as violent from his habit of firing a gun out the window each morning to discharge it, since the bullet could not be removed any other way. Kept the loaded pistol because of his fear of reprisal against his criticism of the Luddite movement. His household became fraught with death in the late 1840s, as each of his children passed away in serial order, driving him deeper into himself. After the demise of his last daughter, Charlotte, in 1855, he was cared for by her husband Arthur Bell Nicholls for the rest of his life, despite his objection to their marriage, since the latter had been his curate for seven years. In 1857, he encouraged Elizabeth Gaskell (Mary Gordon) to write a biography on Charlotte, only to have her render him as remote, eccentric and forbidding. Spent his last year almost blind because of cataracts, although surgery improved his sight, so that he was able to read with a magnifying class. Gave his final sermon two years before his death in his parsonage bedroom. Inner: Serious, compassionate and broodingly spiritual. Always concerned about the welfare of his parishioners, while serving as an ongoing creative stimulus for his children. Kept abreast of political and religious issues, and was an inveterate letter-writer to newspapers. Liberal enlightened Tory at heart, with a great love of poetry and the classics. Grieving lifetime of continually feeling the isolation of death, as a means towards opening his greater imagination and his repressed heart, in fine traditional romantic manner. Georges de Scudery (1601-1667) - French dramatist. Outer: From a military family, father was captain of the port of Le Havre. Older brother of Madeleine (Hilary Mantel), lost his father by the time he was a teen. Pursued a military career until his late 20s, when he went to live in Paris, with the desire of becoming a literary figure. Became a prolific playwright and critic, writing 16 dramas in all, most of which were financially successfully. His triumphs gained him entry to the coveted salon of Catherine Rambouillet (Jessica Mitford), which put him at the center of literary Paris. After the death of their mother in 1635, his sister joined him, and he collaborated on her initial works, which she published under his name. Won the favor of Cardinal de Richelieu (Henry Kissinger) and in 1643, was appointed governor of the fortress of Notre Dame, near Marseille, where he moved with his sister for 3 years. Returned to Paris, and in 1650 was elected to the French Academy. Forced into exile in 1654 to Normandy during the Fronde uprising, and in his mid-50s, he married a writer with a rich dowry, one son from union. Returned to Paris afterwards. Wrote numerous tragicomedies and pastorals, although most of his works are ill-remembered. Inner: Eccentric, and affected martial airs, although had a great love of literature. High sense of honor and a gift for friendship as well. Swashbuckling literary lifetime of close association with longtime mate under yet another familial relationship, in which he has continued to benefit from her literary genius, while creating his own creative character off of her superior and far more developed talent. Leonello d’Este (1407-1450) - Italian Renaissance noble. Outer: Father was Niccolo III d’Este (Kenneth Tynan), a lusty, larger-than life figure who dedicated his time to the three f’s of feasting, fighting and fornicating. Mother was the former’s favorite mistress, Stella dell’Assassino (Tama Janowitz), and he was the middle of three sons from their union. Brother of Borso d’Este (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and half-brother of Ercole I d’Este (Bernardo Bertolucci). Unlike his sire, he grew to be a learned humanist, despite serving a military apprenticeship with a celebrated condottiere in Perugia, beginning at the age of 15. Following the execution of his eldest brother in 1425, he became his father’s heir, and afterwards, he received a humanistic education at his father’s relatively enlightened court, which emphasized learning, in preparation for that role. In 1435, he married Margherita Gonzaga (Elizabeth Bowen), at his father’s behest, since his sire owed her family money, and through the union he was legitimatized by Pope Martin V (Martin Luther King). The marriage proved to be quite happy, since his spouse was his intellectual equal, albeit it proved far too brief, with his wife dying a scant three years later, after producing one son. Succeeded his sire in his mid-30s as marquis of Ferrara and Duke of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and proved to be a beneficent ruler, establishing solid legal precedents which would be taken up by other enlightened courts. Like his contemporaries, however, he also exacted stiff taxes from his starving subjects in order to maintain his magnificent court. Constructed Ferrara’s first hospital, and also helped raise the Univ. of Ferrara to new prestigious levels, while patronizing a string of noted artists. Contracted his second marriage in 1444 to the illegitimate daughter of the king of Naples, although she died within five years, leaving him twice a widower. Passed on the following year, and was succeeded by his brother Borso. Inner: Quiet, rational. Had great faith in humanity’s ability to resolve its problems through rational intercourse, rather than ecclesiastical intervention. Humanist lifetime of being given both a dynamic father, and strongly humanistic teachers, allowing him to strut his leadership stuff as as exemplary rationalist during a time perfectly suited to his skills. Leonitus (fl. 5th cent.) - Athenian man of letters. Outer: Life not well-recorded. A member of the Nestorian community, he probably spent considerable time as a monastic teacher. Became a sophist philosopher and man of letters, but is best known as being the father of the future eastern Roman Augusta, Eudocia (Hilary Mantel) to whom he gave a thorough education, and then denied her any birthright in his will, in order to send her on her way to a destiny far more powerful than he could have afforded her. Left his money instead to his two sons. Inner: Intellectual savant. Cerebral lifetime of pursuing a love of learning and passing it on to his longtime daughter/mate in order to have her shine in the larger light of his and her/story.


Storyline: The former surrogate matriarch proved to be the supportive power behind a host of culturati before proving herself more than the imaginative equal of her symbolic offspring, again and again,
Vanessa Beecroft (1969) - Italian/American artist. Outer: Mother was Italian and a classics teacher. Father was a teacher turned classic car dealer. Named after actress Vanessa Redgrave. Right after she was born her parents moved to west London, and several years later they separated. Did not see her sire again until she was 15, when he rejected her once more for being too intense. One younger brother, who was sent off to grow up in Genoa. With her hyperemotional mother, she moved to a tiny Italian village, where the former taught, while maintaining a household that had no modern conveniences. Along with an aunt and her grandmother, she began seeing men as a gender apart. Her mother, an angry atheist and far leftist, managed to alienate all her neighbors. At 11, they moved to a seaside town to be near her brother. Began to see art as a means of escape from her unhappiness, which included a food disorder brought on by losing her tomboyishness and beginning to be a woman, while following her mother’s strict macrobiotic diet. At 14, she went to art school in Genoa, and began to follow fashion, while visiting galleries around Italy. Started to obsessively keep a record of everything she ate, which she called, “the Book of Food,” and after eating a bag of walnuts, shells and all, she had to be rushed to a hospital. Began smoking afterwards to curb her appetite and at 18 enrolled at art school in Genoa, before transferring to Brera Academy in Milan, where she studied set design while supporting herself as an au pair. Unable to be bulimic, she began exercising frantically, then color-coding her food, eating only greens, then oranges. Eventually she showed her “Book of Food,” at a gallery in 1993 along with drawings, as a piece of art, while hiring girls who looked like her to wear her wardrobe as an art installation and the display ended her obsessive relationship with what she ate. Binged on exercising and aerobics instead as an exercise bulimic, and began exhibiting her work, titling them with her initials VB followed by chronological numbers. In 1995, she got her big break when a NY art dealer, Jeffrey Deitch, saw a photo from her show VB09 in Germany, and invited her to stage a performance of her art, which blended audience voyeurism with sometime nude models forced to stand frozen for hours. Staged dozens of performance-happenings around the world, while Deitch became her dealer. Moved to Brooklyn, as her works continued to sell very well, confirming her as a unique figure on the art scene, blending fashion, shades of reality TV and performance art. After an 8 year affair with a Greek artist, she married Greg Durkin in 2000, an American who was working at an entertainment managing consulting firm at the time. The duo in love at first sight, and turned the ceremony into another work of art. Two sons from the union, along with a pair of impulsively adopted Sudanese twins, which were brought into the family, without consulting her husband and almost destroyed their marriage. The entire transaction eventually became a documentary before she finally gave up the twins. Moved to Los Angeles, while maintaining her peripatetic lifestyle, and has continued to experiment with plaster casts of her live models, as an exemplar of the latest wave of uninhibited feminism, unafraid of intimidating sexual imagery, while giving reflection to different eras in her later work, including males in military attire, and her favorite old obsessions, food. Inner: Extremely intense, cerebral, hyper-neurotic and self-absorbed, with a ton of nervous energy. Hates to be photographed, since she is unable to see herself as a work of art, while virtually everything else falls into that category for her. Combination of innocence and rudeness, taking nothing for granted in her existence and completely throwing herself into everything she does. High maintenance, with a need for tranquilizers to gain equilibrium. Forces her models to stand in discomfort for hours, as emblem of her own excessive need for control and self-control. Fiercely feminist lifetime of continuing her imagination exploration of her unique artistic voice, amidst a host of internal contradictions bred by an upbringing geared to bring out extremes within her. Vanessa Bell (Vanessa Stephen) (1879-1961) - British artist. Outer: Daughter of English critic Leslie Stephen and his 2nd wife, older sister of writer Virginia Woolf (Hilary Mantel). Became mistress of the house on her mother’s death in 1895, and took care of her crotchety father until his demise 8 years later, working her art classes around his schedule. Dreamt she had murdered him in her relief at his passing. Moved her family to the then unfashionable section of Bloomsbury and became one of the centers of the cultural group that came to live there, viewing herself as an esthetic and intellectual equal of each member. Rejected her future husband Clive Bell’s proposals twice, then accepted him on the death of her younger brother, when she was in her late 20s. Her last name was also the nom de pen of the 3 writing Bronte sisters. Had a son, which, in effect, ended her marriage, and became involved with critic and artist Roger Fry, before falling in love with homophile Duncan Grant, who, in turn, was involved with her brother Adrian, in the labyrinthian incestuous intertwinings of Bloomsbury. Employed Fry’s theories in her work to good advantage, evincing an inventiveness in her incisive portraiture. One of the first artists to make nonobjective paintings, and probably the most avant-garde of the Bloomsbury group. Took a trip with the whole crew to Italy, and wound up either living near or with Grant for the rest of her life. The duo often painted together, as well as had an illegitimate daughter, Angelica. Grant’s lovers occasionally joined them in various menages a trois, and one wound up marrying Angelica. Thoroughly committed to her art, as well as the art world of the time, while at the same time serving as den mother to a crew of emotionally and physically knotted culterati. Managed to balance her outer and inner lives, while remaining both well-recorded and mysterious at the same time. Suffered the deaths of Fry, her son and Virginia Woolf, and retreated to the country, quietly living out the rest of her life painting. Following the death of her son in 1937, she became more sentimental in her work, while idealizing her sitters, instead of showing the wit and imagination of her earlier oeuvre. Died after a brief illness and was buried without any service. Inner: Highly social, maternal, intellectual and sensual, blessed with beauty, creativity and unconventionality. Surrogate mother lifetime of serving as the female lynchpin for an extremely well-recorded group of artists and painters, while more than holding her own in their creative midst. Maria Bronte (Maria Branwell) (1783-1821) - British literary materfamilias. Outer: Father was a successful importer in Penzance, who owned a brewery and inn, and was able to build the only mansion in town. One of a dozen children and the younger sister of Elizabeth Branwell (Kathy Acker). Lost her father in 1808, and her mother the following year. Reared as a Methodist, but became a member of her future husband Patrick Bronte’s (Owen Jones), Anglican congregation, and married him 4 months after meeting him in 1812. Small and sprightly. Shared a love for literature, and also a writing ability, with her mate, penning an essay on “the advantages of poverty in religious concerns.” Mother of 6, including Marie (Jean Rhys), Elizabeth (Elizabeth Bowen), Charlotte (Zelda Fitzgerald), Branwell (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Emily (Hilary Mantel) and Anne (Mary Gaitskill). The first to die of the oddly tragic family, she was consumed by cancer in 1821, and left the care of her brood to her sister Elizabeth to act as surrogate mother. May also have been the victim of chronic pelvis septis and anemia brought on by her constant childbearing, causing her a very slow and painful demise. Inner: Charming, sweet-tempered, loving and imaginative. Foreshorted lifetime of giving a magical brood their first taste of serial tragedy in opening their combined imaginations to the brooding romance of early death. Mary Beale (Mary Craddock) (1632-1697) - British artist. Outer: Father was a Puritan rector and an amateur artist. Older of two. Received a good education from her sire, who gave her the tuition to study painting. Influenced in her early art by portraitist Peter Lely (Steven Soderbergh), although her muted sensibilities toned down his lusty colors and subject matter. In 1652, she married Charles Beale, a wealthy landowner and cloth manufacturer, who doted upon her, keeping detailed accounts of all the transactions surrounding her painting. Two sons from union, and both trained in her studio, with one, Charles, becoming a painter, and the other Bartholomew, a physician. Established a studio at Covent Garden, and became a successful portraitist, specializing in influential intellectuals and clergy. Forced to leave London for 6 years, when her husband’s position became insecure and the plague began to rage in the city, but returned in 1670. Worked in oil, water colour and crayon. Attracted a wide-ranging clientele, including none other than the king, Charles II (Peter O’Toole). Set aside 10% of the family income for the poor, as was the Puritan practice of the time. Continued painting until her old age, but was far less popular after the death of Lely, when styles and fashions changed. Died at home. Inner: Sympathetic and highly hospitable, with a great deal of innate sensitivity and charm. Felt men and women were equals and propounded it in an ‘essay on friendship.’ Transitional lifetime of receiving a tremendous amount of support, albeit from highly conventional sources, for her ambitions, and enjoying the cultural power it gave her, although unwilling or unable to adapt to changing times, thanks to the earlier straitlaced beliefs with which she was imbued. Beatrice d’Este (1475-1497) - Italian duchess. Outer: Daughter of Ercole I d’Este (Bernardo Bertolucci), the Duke of Ferrara. Mother was the daughter of the king of Naples. In addition to 3 other brothers, she was sister of Isabella d’Este (Hilary Mantel), Alfonso I d’Este (TIm Buckley) and ippolito I d’Este (Jeff Buckley). Received an excellent education, and harbored a high sensitivity to the arts. At 16, she was married to Ludovico Sforza (Michael Milken), in a double Este-Sforza union, in which her brother Alfonso married the sister of her husband’s brother, Gian Galeazzo, and none other than Leonardo Da Vinci (Gordon Parks) orchestrated the wedding celebration, and did a portrait of her as well. Her husband, who was known as Il Moro, the Moor, because of his dark skin coloring, genuinely appreciated her, despite a host of mistresses, and gave her considerable leeway in setting the artistic standards of his duchy. 2 sons from the union, including Francesco II Sforza (J. Paul Getty), the latter’s ultimate successor. Surrounded herself with distinguished men of letters, as well as poets and artists, raising the level of the Sforza court, while proving to be a tasteful patron of architecture, enhancing Milan. Served her husband’s interests as an ambassador to Venice, and on the death of Gian Galeazzo in 1494, Ludovico was legitimatized as duke of Milan. Following the defeat of the occupying French, she further showed her political mettle during the peace negotiations between Charles VIII (Hermann Goering) of France and the Italian princes. Died in her early 20s giving birth to a still-born son. Inner: Highly cultured, with excellent communication skills. Slice of pizza lifetime of experiencing two brilliant courts, in her ongoing role as sometimes brief but always cohesive maternal figure for a repetitive family of writers and artisans.


Storyline: The shy but consummate storyteller does continuous battle with her own demons over the issues of fame and fortune, as she continues to carve unique writerly niches for herself on the American literary landscape.

Mary Gaitskill (1954) - American writer. Outer: Father grew up an orphan, fought in WW II and won a Fulbright Scholarship before winding up teaching political science at a community college. Mother had been a social worker and was also intellectually oriented, although her sire’s lack of ambition proved a driving onus to his daughter. One of 3 sisters. Blonde-haired, delicate features. After an unhappy adolescence, at 16, she ran away from home to Canada, then California and back to Canada, feeling a great need to escape her claustrophobic home. Sold flowers on the street, worked as a bar stripper and made crafts, before eventually returning home, satisfied for the moment that she had experienced the world, which allowed her to go to her sire’s community college. Ultimately graduated from the Univ. of Michigan in 1981 where she won the prestigious Hopwood award for writing. Moved to NYC to become a writer, while supporting herself as a legal proofreader. Made her critically acclaimed debut with a collection of raw short stories in 1988, called “Bad Behavior,” which focused on both sex and cruelty. Felt extremely uncomfortable in the spotlight, for not being who her audience wished her to be - a jaded hipster - and escaped to Marin County in northern California, before wending her way to Texas, where she took a job in the creative writing department of the Univ. of Houston. Refused to drive, perhaps as unconscious token of her previous go-round’s end. Met a fellow writer, Peter Trachtenberg, at a writer’s retreat for Vietnam veterans, and continued to see him when she returned to the East Coast and Rhinebeck, New York. Despite having ambivalent feelings about the institution of marriage, the duo were joined in legal matrimony a few days after 9/11/2001, in a rare desire for conformity on her part. Took a position with Syracuse Univ. as a creative writing teacher, while also living in the dorm during the week. Became a mentor to a brother and sister through the Fresh Air Fund, paying for both their Catholic educations, as a part time mother, allowing her her domesticity without compromising her time or space. Spent a decade on the novel, “Veronica,” which limned the reflections of a former model after coming into contact with the abrasive title character, who is dying of AIDS. The book would become a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award, and a signal that its author had penetrated the mainstream, despite her ongoing reluctance at being a public figure, for fear of compromising her artistic integrity. Won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002, while her later works, including 2015’s “The Mare” would continue to explore dominance and submission as an integral element of human relationships. Inner: Shy, but also extremely ambitious. Far more interested in the dark side of life, in an ongoing attempt to know her full self, blemishes and all. Fascinated with the survival systems that people, including herself, create for themselves. Internal civil war lifetime of trying to integrate her ongoing fears of being overwhelmed by acclaim, despite an ongoing talent to continually warrant it. Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) - American writer. Outer: Daughter of a lawyer, who became president of the Atlanta Bar Assoc., and was recognized as an authority on Georgia and Atlanta his/story. One brother, who also became a lawyer and president of the Bar Assoc., while showing a similar interest in the area’s story, since the family’s ancestors had lived in or near Atlanta before the town even originated. Grew up among the lingering evidence of a defeated South, while her youth was imbued with the romance of the Civil War from both sides of her family. Wanted to be a doctor, but her mother’s death interrupted her studies at Smith College in 1919 and she had to return home to take care of her father’s house. Made her social debut in Atlanta, then joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal, becoming a feature writer for 4 years, under the name of Peggy Mitchell, before quitting after an ankle injury. During her days at the Journal, she had trouble beginning her stories, so she always wrote the last part first. During this time, she married Red Upshaw, then divorced two years later. Remarried to John Marsh, who worked in the advertising department of Georgia Power Co., no children from either union. In 1926, she began working sporadically on a Civil War novel that took her ten years to complete, while once again beginning it by writing the last chapter. Let it lie unread for six years, then was persuaded to submit it in 1935. Her huge unwieldy manuscript, entitled Gone With the Wind was accepted, much to her surprise, and after six months of editing and reshaping it, it became one of the great bestsellers of all time, racking up a million sales in its first 6 months. Won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1937, but despite its phenomenal success, she didn’t really care for the fame that accompanied it, and the overwhelming attention it garnered, which totally vampired her time. A spectacular movie version followed in 1939, which further ate into her privacy. Turned down an offer to be on the Georgia State Board of Education and never wrote another piece of fiction again, despite making $1 million from the combined film and book royalties. Died a decade later after being hit by a drunken off-duty speeding cabdriver in a private car, with 23 driving citations to his record, while crossing an Atlanta street on the way to the theater. The accident fractured her skull all the way down to her spine, and fractured her pelvis in two places, as well. Flags in Georgia were subsequently lowered to half-mast in recognition of her unique place in American fiction. At the time of her death, Gone With the WInd had sold 8,000,000 copies in 30 languages in 40 countries. Inner: Modest, shy, innate storyteller. Divided lifetime of giving birth to the romantic novel of the century, only to be deeply disappointed in the social pressures it put on her, in her own ongoing internal civil war between fame and true fulfillment. Anne Bronte (1820-1849) - British writer. Outer: The youngest of 6 children of Patrick (Owen Jones) and Maria Bronte (Vanessa Beecroft). Father was a parson, mother died when she was only a year, followed by her 2 older sisters whenshe was 5. Raised by her aunt Elizabeth Branwell (Kathy Acker), to whom she had a strong attachment. Participated with her surviving siblings Branwell (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Charlotte (Tama Janowitz) and Emily (Hilary Mantel) in the imaginary kingdoms they created as a refuge from the larger world. With Emily, with whom she was extremely close, she created the breakaway kingdom of Gondal. Unlike Emily, however, she was able to deal with boarding school, filling her place for 2 years. Deeply passionate and spiritual, although able to present a stoic outer core to the world. After her schooling, she became a governess in 1839 for several families, although was unhappy in her work. Struggled with both depression and homesickness, until an impending scandal involving her brother, who was tutor in the same household, ended that part of her career in 1845, despite her attachment to the children. A spate of deaths brought the whole family back home together, which enabled her to begin writing again. Took the name of Acton Bell in a joint publishing venture of their poems, and like her sisters, proved successful with her 2nd novel, Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a tale of brooding and hope with many parallels to her own life. After Branwell and Emily’s early deaths, she succumbed to consumption as well, following them shortly afterwards to her own premature grave. Inner: Gentle and sweet, and a good student as well as the most religious and traditional of the Bronte brood, with the least imagination and far lesser skills at exposition. Like her siblings, brooding lifetime of a magical childhood to awaken the artist within, and then a brief adulthood to bring it to partial fruition. Margaret Fleming (1803-1811) - Scottish diarist and writer. Outer: Father was an accountant and magistrate and mother was from a cultured Edinburgh family. Third child, known as Pet Marjoie. From the age of 5, she spent a great deal of time with her aunt in Edinburgh, who encouraged her writing. Extremely precocious, she began keeping a journal from the age of 6, filled with observations on life and literature, as well as conventional morals and juvenile enthusiasms. Her abilities impressed poet Walter Scott (Jack Kerouac), a distant cousin of her mother’s. Filled 3 journals and wrote a poem just before she died of complications from measles when she was 8. Her father could never mention her name again afterwards. Youngest person ever to leave a literary legacy, which saw print nearly a half century following her premature death, after a sister preserved them. Inner: Precocious, vivacious, sprightly stylist. Candle in the wind lifetime of exploring artistic life from the briefest of vantage points, in a steady opening herself up to its larger possibilities, in her own ongoing series as chronicler and self-chronicler.


Storyline: The spare stylist continues to carry her lonely moors within her, as emblem of her earlier brief taste of a seminal romantic family, and its long-lasting effects on both her imagination and her dealings with the larger bleak world around her.

Jean Rhys (1894-1979) (Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams) - British writer. Outer: Daughter of a Welsh doctor and a Creole mother. 4th of 5 children. Felt she was ugly and wanted to be black, like her native friends. Raised in the West Indies and educated at a convent school until she was 16, although her family discovered her interest in Catholicism and native culture. Emigrated to London, spent a year at the Perse School, Cambridge, then studied stagecraft for an annum at Tree’s School of Dramatic Art, before becoming a chorus girl, and film extra. Served as a volunteer cook during WW I. Became serially involved with a series of middle-aged men and moved to Paris, where she eventually married Jean Lenglet, a Dutch writera Dutch writer in 1919, until he was imprisoned. Led a bohemian existence there and published some sketches in the transatlantic review in 1924, courtesy of editor Ford Madox Ford (Anthony Minghella), with whom she would have an affair, as well. Wrote 4 novels, in her characteristic spare style, although they achieved little lasting readership. Divorced in 1932, she subsequently wed Leslie Smith, an Englishman, in 1934. After his death in 1945, she married another countryman, Max Hamer, who was imprisoned for embezzlement, reducing the couple to poverty when he emerged from prison, and they settled in a small cottage in Cornwall. Produced nothing for three decades, and was long thought to be dead, until she was unearthed in 1957 after a radio adaptation of one of her stories. In 1966, she published Wide Sargasso Sea, a prequel based on the mad wife of the Rochester character in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, which proved a big success, despite an earlier attempt on her part to destroy the manuscript, which was saved by a local vicar, and generous helpings of whiskey. Published two more collections of short stories, and left an unfinished autobiography at her death. Broke her hip in 1979, then had several minor strokes, before finally refusing to eat or sleep and passively expiring. Inner: Submissive, sad and dependent. Profoundly alienated lifetime of re-exploring the imaginative dynamic of her previous life, through musing and writing, while living in unhappy self-imprisonment in the quiet of the English countryside. Maria Bronte (1814-1825) - British Bronte sister. Outer: Oldest daughter of Patrick (Owen Jones) and Maria Bronte (Vanessa Beecroft). The latter died in 1821, and in 1824, she was sent off to school with her younger sister Elizabeth (Elizabeth Bowen), where she developed tuberculosis, thanks to its extremely unhealthy environment. Sent home from school, along with her sister, she passed on a month before her, from tuberculosis and stomach cancer. Inner: Sip of tea lifetime of coming into an excessively imaginative home and taking it all in, in child-form, before exiting early to later transpose what she had learned into a fully-extended Bronte existence in all but name. Dorothy Osborne, Lady Temple (Dorothy Danvers) (1627-1695) - British letter writer. Outer: Youngest of 10 children of a Royalist family. Her father was the lieutenant-governor of the Isle of Guernsey and proved to be the last of the Royalist holdouts, until he was forced to surrender his fortress by Puritan troops. Lived in poverty with her family throughout the Commonwealth. Rejected a long string of suitors after meeting William Temple (Harold Nicolson) in 1648, while he was on his way to France, and the two began a furtive correspondence, which would be her enduring claim to fame. Her family disapproved of him, while his did the same of her, since neither had the wherewithal to elevate the other economically, which made their connection all the more romantic to her, as their servants secretly carried their letters back and forth to one another. Came down with smallpox, which disfigured her and postponed their wedding, which finally came about on Christmas Day in 1654, after the death of both their naysaying sires. Suffered mightily for her Only 2 out of 9 children survived infancy, with a daughter living to 14, and a son committing suicide by throwing himself off a bridge in 1689. Their home, Moor Park, nevertheless, was an important social meeting-place for governmental, court and cultural figures in between his many diplomatic assignments. Served as an active hostess, although made little mark on anyone else’s record of the era. Her death devastated her husband, and he died four years later. After their demises, a book, published two centuries later, consisting of 77 letters between them during their courtship, plus another 9 during their marriage would be her ultimate legacy. Inner: Very self-aware, but prone as usual to tragedy. Scarred lifetime of revealing her interior to posterity rather than her peers, in her ongoing dance with disappointments, despite being well-loved. Parisina Malatesta (1404-1425) - Italian noblewoman. Outer: Father was a member of the powerful Malatesta family. Although promised to his son Ugo, she was wed to Niccolo III d’Este (Kenneth Tynan) in 1418, who was twenty years older than she at the time, 3 children from the union, 2 daughters and a son who died as an infant. Brought to the court of Ferrara, she was noted for both her sparkling eyes, and a bold lasciviousness. Began an affair with Ugo, despite an initial antipathy twixt the two, while her husband was off on hunting trips, and rumors of their infidelity drifted back to her insanely jealous husband. After drilling a hole in the ceiling and spying on the two locked in carnal embrace, he ordered a trial, in which they were both summarily found guilty of adultery. Subsequently imprisoned and ignominiously beheaded along with her lover, before Niccolo passed the same judgment on all the adulterous women of Ferrara, precipitating an uxorial massacre. Her story would become subject of operas, poetry and novels, including a poem by her longtime crypto-family member, Lord Byron (Bernardo Bertolucci). Inner: Victim lifetime of suffering mightily for her appetites in her ongoing self-imprisoning chronicles surrounding her unhappy search for herself.


Storyline: The reserved observer experiences early motherloss thrice over, as a means of deepening her own sad sensibilities and infusing them with outrageous insight into the dynamics of loss, founded on her own ongoing experience.

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) - Anglo/Irish writer. Outer: Father was an unworldly and introspective barrister. Doted on by her mother, who had waited 9 years for her, and raised her to be very social. Brought up in Dublin, and summered on the family estate, Bowen’s Court in County Cork, which had been in their preserve since 1653. When she was 5, her progenitor, who worked for the Irish Land Commission, began to show signs of instability from the pressures he felt, causing his daughter to stammer. 2 years later, she moved with her mother to Kent, without him, although he was eventually back home 5 years later. The following year, when she was 13, her mother died. Educated in the provinces, she completed her schooling at the local Downe House School. Had a long aristocratic face, and a ruling-class bearing. At the end of WW I, she worked in a hospital in Dublin, treating shell-shocked soldiers, then moved to London, where she briefly attended an art school. Began writing short stories and had her first collection, Encounters, published in 1923, the same year she married Alan Cameron, an educational administrator. By the time her first novel saw print, 4 years later, she was a member of the city’s literary circles, and included Virginia Woolf (Hilary Mantel) nas a friend. Wrote on moral dilemmas in contemporary society, using her sharp observational skills, to limn both intimate relationships, and the larger currents against which they lay, showing an acute understanding of the human condition, and an unflinching ability to both broach and penetrate it, in a unique style that matched her matchless insight. Particularly attuned to the loneliness and vulnerability of the young, which came from her own unmoored beginnings. Was well thought of for her efforts, and has been given the accolade of greatness in several circles, despite a limited readership beyond her own times. Inherited her family estate in 1928, visited it regularly, and wrote its his’n’herstory, although only lived there after acting as an air-raid warden during WW II. Made a CBE in 1948. Lived a largely nomadic existence after 1952, with a good deal of time in America. Forced to sell her beloved estate in 1959, she went back to spend the rest of her life in Kent. Ultimately penned 70 short stories and 10 novels, among nearly 30 tomes on a variety of subjects. Died of cancer of the lungs. Inner: Acute, highly perceptive, and haunted by a disappeared past. Sharply aware of living between 2 worlds, England and Ireland, and never truly being part of either, as a member of an old stock, Anglo/Irish, disappearing from the modern world. Ghost-struck, and extremely sensitive, with a highly developed esthetic. Sad-eyed lifetime of both remembrance of things past and remembrance of things present, and an astute ability to recognize the difference. Elizabeth Bronte (1815-1825) - English member of the Bronte family. Outer: Second daughter of Patrick (Owen Jones) and Maria Bronte (Vanessa Beecroft). The latter died from cancer in 1821. Went off to school with her older sister Marie (Jean Rhys), and like her, contracted tuberculosis from the unhealthy environs there, was sent back home and succumbed a month after her. Inner: Puff of smoke lifetime of an imaginative early childhood with the magical Bronte clan, in order to open herself up later on to similar themes of loss and vulnerability. Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (Anne Kingsmill) (1661-1720) - British poet. Outer: Youngest of 3 from a family descended on both sides from nobility, with four centuries of royal service, and estates granted to them by Henry VIII (Maxwell Beaverbrook). Her sire died a few months after her birth, and her mother remarried, only to die three years later after giving birth to one more half-sister. Raised in London by her paternal grandmother until she was 11, at which point she also became a maid of honor to princess Mary of Modena (Anne Heche), which gave her access to the witty and cultured Restoration court of Charles II (Peter O’Toole). Secretly began writing verse, and in 1684, she married an earl’s second son, Heneage Finch, a soldier and courtier, who was a gentleman of the bedchamber to the future James II (Martin Sheen). No children from union. Resigned her position, but lived at Westminster Palace, maintaining her close ties with the court. Began focusing more seriously on her writing, with songs and religious verses, as well as a tragicomedy, The Triumphs of Love and Innocence. The Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the fall of James ended her court career, and she and her husband fled London for the countryside. He was arrested 2 years later as a Jacobite, while trying to join James in France. His case was ultimately dismissed, while she began writing far more political verse, in order to distract her from the grim potential realities of their situation. After his trial, the couple settled in Kent, on the estates of her husband’s nephew, who had succeeded her father-in-law as 4th earl of Winchilsea. Continued with her writing, while her husband served as both editor, transcriber and support of her work. In the 1690s, she began publishing love lyrics anonymously, some of which were set to music. The wielder of a prolific pen, she also wrote fables, verse plays, and all forms of poetry. Numerous works celebrated the unique intelligence and resourcefulness of women in dealing with their second-class citizen status. Best known during her life for “The Spleen,” published anonymously in 1701, which deals with melancholy, an affliction from which she long suffered. Returned to London in 1708, after two decades, although she and her spouse remained political outsiders. Able, however, to make good literary connections and further her career. In 1712, with the death of her husband’s nephew, he became the 5th earl of Winchilsea, and she was raised to the level of countess. Despite their elevated status, the estate of his predecessor became involved in complex litigation for the next 8 years, so that they could not realize its financial beneficence, until just before she died. Her husband also refused to take an oath of allegiance to the crown, and so, was denied his seat in the House of Lords, underscoring their outcast status. Won literary praise for her efforts from Alexander Pope (Evelyn Waugh), and continued writing until her death. Dwelt in obscurity for centuries afterwards, until renewed interest brought her to public attention again. Inner: Melancholic, observant and a fount of creative outpouring. Hot and cold lifetime of early losses, then excellent intimate support, despite the larger alien view that conventional society held her in, in order to bring out the multi-layered scribe within her. Anne (1456-1485) - British queen. Known as Anne Neville. Outer: Younger daughter of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, (Robert Kilroy-Silk) who was known as the kingmaker. Mother was the heiress of the former earls of the Beauchamp family. Married in 1470 to Edward, the Prince of Wales, the son of Henry VI (Harold Nicolson) in a political move by her father, to insure the family’s fortunes, if the king were restored, although the union may never have been consummated. A formal ceremony may never have taken place, either, since both her husband and her father were killed in 1471. May have been reduced to the level of servant in London, but the following year, she married Richard of Gloucester (Evelyn Waugh), whom she had known as a child, while he saw in her the potential of a vast inheritance. Probably suffered from tuberculosis, and was in ill health most of her life. When her husband usurped the throne as Richard III in 1483, she became queen consort. One sickly son from union, who died in 1484, and she followed him to an early grave the following annum, having lost her will to live. Rumors were so rife that her husband had plotted her death, that he had to deny them publicly afterwards, and he soon joined her, perishing on the battlefield. Inner: Political pawn lifetime of serving her father’s ambitions, and then her second husband’s, only to embrace death shortly after her son and shortly before her spouse, to leave only her name, and little else of substance in the annals of English his’n’herstory. Margherita d’Este (Margherita Gonzaga) (?-1439) - Father was Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, mother was from the Malatesta family. Given an excellent humanistic education, and proved to be both bright and attractive. Betrothed to Leonello d’Este (Owen Jones), as a means of his father paying off a debt to her family. The duo were married in 1435, in a happy and stimulating union, which produced one son. Died four years later. Inner: Sip of chianti lifetime of one of several brief go-rounds focusing on childhood and adolescence, rather than bringing her skills to full maturity, in her ongoing saga of dealing with loss, both her own and those closest to her, down through the centuries.


Storyline: The mild-mannered scholar is continually out of his depth on the throne, despite a draw towards it, before finding his true metier in letters and unconventional union with his longtime unconventional mate.

Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) - British diplomat and writer. Outer: Son of a baron who was charge d’affairs of the British legation in Tehran. Educated at Wellington College and Balliol College, Oxford, and joined the foreign office in 1909, receiving postings in Madrid and Constantinople, unconsciously returning to the scene of his former rule in the latter post. In 1913, he married writer Vita Sackville-West, 2 sons from union. A homophile, while she was a lesbian, but their marriage flourished through their mutual sociality, and the freedom both gave one another to pursue their own liaisons. Served in London during WW I, and afterwards was part of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Took his father’s old post in Tehran in 1925, but was critical of the British Middle East policy and was recalled 2 years later. Posted to Berlin in 1927 and 2 years following, he retired from his foreign office diplomatic posts because his wife had refused to join him in any of them. Along with his spouse, he purchased an old Elizabethan mansion, Sissinghurst Castle, which his mate refurbished, building spectacular gardens there. Member of Parliament as a Laborite for a decade, beginning in 1935. Bitterly opposed the Munich agreement in 1938. During WW II, he was parliamentary secretary for a year, and for 5 years was governor of the BBC, where he was a frequent broadcaster. Contributed weekly book reviews to the Observer, for which his wife also wrote a column, and held posts at various academic institutions. Prolific his/storian, literary biographer and novelist, witty writer. Also kept a diary for over 30 years, which was later edited by one of his sons. Shattered by his wife’s death, he lingered on for another half dozen years, spending his last 3 annums at home in diminishing capacities. Inner: Wimpish and bookish. Obsessively fastidious, noted conversationalist. Reconstituted lifetime of working out a mutually satisfactory relationship with his longtime difficult mate to allow freedom of sexuality and expression between the pair, while pursuing his own scholarly interests. William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (Henry William Lamb) (1779-1848) - British statesman. Outer: From old Whig aristocracy. Some question as to who his real father was, mother was a confidante of the notorious Lord Byron (Bernardo Bertolucci). Graduated Trinity College, Cambridge, and became a barrister in 1804. The previous year, he married 16 year old Caroline Lamb (Vita Sackville-West), whose excessive emotional behavior scandalized London, but she remained captivating to him, as an odd counterbalance to his own reined-in sense of expression. After two babies died prematurely, their only child, a son, proved to be mentally defective, and died mad. Adopted a daughter afterwards. Found his wife’s dalliances distasteful, including one with Byron, which she further underlined in a novel in 1816, causing him undue embarrassment as a cuckold. Remained sympathetic to his spouse’s unbalanced moods, until the duo finally separated, after she suffered a breakdown, following Byron’s funeral in 1824. Entered Parliament in 1806 as a Whig, and had a steady political career, with a 4 year hiatus in 1812 for his support of Catholic emancipation. Returned in 1816, although was far more interested in literature and theology, and like his wife, not adverse to adultery, serving as a corespondent in 2 divorce cases. Separated for good from his wife and she died in 1828. Served as Irish secretary under succeeding prime ministers, and in 1829, succeeded his father as viscount. Home secretary for 4 years beginning in 1830, and once more the minister responsible for Ireland. Became prime minister in 1834, although his ministry fell quickly the same year, but he won the post again the following year, and held it for the next 6 annums, during which time he was adviser, mentor and guide to young queen Victoria (Mary Renault), for whom he had earlier served as secretary. Universally approved for his instruction to the queen, and was clearly one of her favorites. After his 2nd ministry fell, he suffered ill health, including a debilitating stroke and died of dyspepsia. Buried at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Inner: Indolent, aristocratic, clever, good-looking. Passionate believer in liberty and the aristocracy. Lamb-trying-to-be-a-lion lifetime of exercising power in his own right, although remaining beholden to longtime wife/ally for the emotional roller-coaster that he seems to need to have others close to him express. William Temple (1628-1699) - British diplomat and writer. Outer: From an academic family with a longtime connection to Trinity College in Dublin. Father had been master of the Rolls in Ireland. Younger brother became speaker of the Irish Parliament. traveled abroad and studied foreign languages, meeting his future wife, Dorothy Osborne. Settled in Ireland and became an Irish MP. After a 7 year courtship and a lively correspondence, because both families objected to the union, on economic grounds, he married Dorothy Osborne (Jean Rhys) on Christmas Day in 1654, after she was disfigured by smallpox, and both their fathers had died. Only 2 out of 9 children passed infancy, a daughter surviving to 14, while a son committed suicide by throwing himself off a bridge in 1689. Became protege of the secretary of state to Charles II (Peter O’Toole), and was made a baronet in 1666. Visited the Hague and helped effect the triple alliance twixt England, Holland and Sweden, then served as ambassador to the Hague, but his diplomatic work was undermined and he was ordered back to England, where he was received coldly. Withdrew from active diplomatic life and concentrated on writing, limning several political essays After England fought the Dutch, he negotiated the treaty, and helped arrange the marriage that eventually brought William III (Lyndon Johnson) to the throne. Twice refused the secretaryship of state, and his criticisms of the king’s arbitrary governments soon excluded him from the royal council so that his name was struck from the list of privy councillors in 1681. Took no part in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and for a 3rd time refused the post of secretary of state. Retired from politics, after a lifetime of enjoying power and losing it. Entered a serious writing career in retirement, noted for his lucid conversational prose. Had Jonathan Swift (James Joyce) as a secretary, whose style he also influenced. Visited frequently by William and acted as his consultant. Published 2 volumes of essays, evincing a refined, rhythmical writing style. Devastated by his wife’s death in 1695, and followed a few years later. Inner: Self-expressive with good powers of observation. Son acted as reflection of earlier draws towards self-destruction. Transitional lifetime of establishing his priorities and interests, finding great pleasure, and far more success, in expressing himself on the printed page than the political arena, while his longtime ally/mate, for once, reflected his intellectuality rather than opposed his emotionality. Henry VI (1421-1471) - King of England. Outer: Son of Henry V (Winston Churchill). His mother Katherine (Anthony Powell), was the daughter of the French king. Completely opposite of his athletic, warrior father. Ascended the throne at the age of one, and a council ruled during his minority. Proclaimed king of France as well, although never exercised monarchical rights. Had no particular wish to rule, far more interested in education and religion. Crowned at the age of 8, and his long minority was dominated by his uncles. He was admitted to share in the government in 1437, after showing a precocious knowledge of state, and finally attained his legal majority in 1442. The following year, he married the vixenish Margaret of Anjou (Vita Sackville-West), who was the niece of the French queen, one son from union. Alienated everyone with his ineffectiveness, including his wife, while his rule was dominated by a series of powerful ministers, and he was the victim of much maneuvering back and forth by them. Took a genuine interest in learning, founded Eton in 1440 and King’s College, Cambridge the following year. Periodically paralyzed in speech in his 30s, and his mind became dulled, as he eventually slipped in and out of insanity, beginning in 1453. Slightly wounded in an uprising in 1455, briefly lost his reason, and his queen dominated the court afterwards. The War of the Roses, between the House of Lancaster, which he represented, and the House of York, sprang from his inabilities, as did his own madness. In the martial landscape that followed, he was defeated and captured in 1460, and forced to acknowledge Edward, duke of York (Errol Flynn) as his heir. Despite Margaret’s defeat of the Yorkists, he fled northward when Edward was declared king in 1461. Attainted, and deposed, he became a wandering fugitive and took refuge with the Scots. Narrowly escaped capture in 1464, then lived for a year in a disguise on the Lancashire Yorkshire border, before being captured and imprisoned for 5 years, beginning in 1465. Restored to the throne in 1470 and presided over Parliament, but was imprisoned again by the usurper, Edward IV. His son was killed, and his wife was defeated in battle, and shortly afterwards, he was knifed while kneeling in prayer in the Tower of London, on the night of Edward’s return to the throne. Ended the Lancaster line on the throne. A number of miracles purportedly took place at his tomb in subsequent centuries, and a still extant society has been formed pushing him for sainthood. Inner: Chaste, prudish, mild, genuinely pious, hated violence, supporter of arts and literature. Ineffectual, other-worldly, scholarly and prudish. Out-of-his-depth lifetime of giving vent to his emotional madness over his political impotence, while being thoroughly overwhelmed by the events of his times. Ethelwulf (?-858) - West Saxon king. Outer: Son of Egbert (George Marshall), the first real king of Wessex and Redburga. Brought up at Winchester, where he served the bishop there, then was made king of Kent, Sussex and Surrey by his father in 828.. Married Osburth, the daughter of a royal cupbearer. Succeeded his father as king of Wessex in 839, 4 years after the Danes had begun large-scale raids on the English coast. Defeated by the Danes in 842, but routed them a decade later. Had 4 surviving sons by his first marriage, to Osburga, all of whom became English kings, Ethelbald (Bernardo Bertolucci), Ethelbert (Tim Buckley), Ethelred (Jeff Buckley) and Alfred the Great (Thomas Jefferson). Tried to set up a system where his progeny would rule serially and have all the resources they needed, without worrying about their rival siblings. His last, Alfred was far and away his favorite. Also had one daughter, whom he later married to the king of Mercia, allying his kingdom with them in order to withstand more Danish raids. Far more the churchman than the warrior, he made a pilgrimage to Rome in 855, during which time his son Ethelbald rebelled against him and deposed him, although he refused to make war on him, allowing him the kingdom of Wessex, while he continued to rule the kingdom of Kent. Extremely generous to both Rome and to religious houses that were in need. Married the daughter of the French king, Judith (Vita Sackville-West) in 856. By his will, he charged every 10 hides of his property with the support of a poor man. Ethelbald later married his widow in an act of extreme incest that was not looked on kindly by the church. Inner: Alternately forceful and capable and slothful. Loved peace and quiet, had to be roused to act. Extremely pious and religious, as well as generous, but lacked the consistent energy to preserve the unity of his kingdom. Out-of-his-depth lifetime, once again, of rule, with the usual shenanigans run by his cohorts around his ongoing need to wear a crown. Theodosius II (401-450) - Eastern Roman Emperor. Outer: Only son of Arcadius (Roald Dahl), the eastern Roman Emperor, mother was Aelia Eudoxia (Marguerite Duras). Educated for rule, showing a great thirst for knowledge, and a sharp scholarly intelligence, and assumed the throne to the east at the age of 7, on the death of his father. Brother of Pulcheria (Vita Sackville-West), who assumed the regency when he was 13. A marriage was arranged by his sister to Eudocia (Hilary Mantel), daughter of the Athenian sophist, Leontius (Owen Jones). No male heirs. Reigned for 49 years, longest in Roman his/story, although he was neither statesman nor warrior, and pursued scholastic interests, while leaving the government to others, which probably accounted for his extended reign, since he was never undone by his own overweening ambitions, as so many in his line had been. Enjoyed science and theology, and was a calligrapher. His court was like a monastic institution, pious and charitable. Organized a university at Constantinople and collected imperial legislation, which bears his name, the Theodosian Code. The cold war twixt the eastern and western empires ended during his reign, which was symbolized by the marriage of his daughter Eudoxia (Mae West) to the western Emperor, Valentinian III (Valentinian III), an equally blase ruler. Passive observer of the theological controversies of his age, while the 2nd half of his reign was dominated by the aggressive actions of the Huns, whom he tried to contain through diplomacy. Died from a fall off a horse, and on his deathbed named Marcian (Chris Patten), as his successor. Inner: Kindly, gentle, scholarly. Long reign lifetime of integrating his passive, bookish nature with rule by allowing others to act for him, a course he would try again to far less effect, before finally giving up titular rule in favor of pursuing his strengths at exposition, rather than his weaknesses at primary position.


Storyline: The wanton wild woman is equally uninhibited in her eccentric pursuits of love, power and literary fame, refusing to curb her appetites to accommodate others, and playing all her roles, regal and otherwise, to the dramatic hilt.

Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) - British writer. Outer: Grand/daughter of a Spanish gypsy. Aristocratic upbringing, only child of a titled Englishman, privately educated by governesses. Parents were unhappily married, and she had a difficult relationship with her troubled, flamboyant mother, who wanted a femme daughter, while she was an overt tomboy. Knew she couldn’t inherit her father’s estate because of her gender, and became outwardly male because of it, effecting male attire, and seducing her own gender. Loved writing as a child, and poured herself out through her pen, finishing 8 novels and 5 plays by the time she was 18. Despised the modern world and its egalitarian struggles. Part of the Bloomsbury cultural/sexual circle. In 1913, she married civil servant Harold Nicolson, 2 sons from her union. Active lesbian while her husband was a homophile, although the liaison worked well for them, despite her refusing to join him on his various foreign posts, preferring the social life of England. Prolific novelist, poet, biographer, publishing a book a year, and winning the Hawthornden Prize for her poem The Land in 1926. Close longterm friendship with writer Virginia Woolf (Hilary Mantel). Highly eccentric, she spent most of her adult life on her well-kept estate, leading a sensual, aristocratic life, as an artistic Kali, the writer as devourer of her lovers. Dedicated her last 30 years to the extraordinary gardens on her castle estate, Sissinghurst, a ruined Elizabethan mansion, that she had bought and restored when her husband retired from the foreign service in 1929. Joined the Women’s Land Army during WW II, and wrote prolifically during the conflict. Following the war, she penned a gardening column for the Observer, until 1961. Acknowledged as a master gardener, she opened Sissinghurst’s grounds to the public during the summer, and her estate eventually passed into the National Trust, as her longest lasting legacy. Died of cancer. Inner: Egotistic, arrogant, haughty, self-centered and vain. Loved to cross-dress, called her male selves Julian and David. Domineering personality, using her gift for gardening as the singular expression of her feminine side. Kali lifetime of giving play to her own aristocratic sense of self-involvement, as well as her masculine femininity, finding some semblance of peace in her gardening and writing. Lady Caroline Lamb (Caroline Ponsonby) (1785-1828) - British noblewoman. Outer: 4th child and only daughter of an English earl. Mother was also the daughter of an earl and the sister of the duchess of Devonshire. Had a cultured upbringing, that alternated between running wild with her cousins, or sitting under the thumb of her austere grandmother, while only briefly attending school, which caused her great regret later on. Educated in Italy until 1794, she was always considered high-strung and prone to emotional excess, with violent mood swings. Part bluestocking and part tomboy, she enjoyed dressing as a page boy, projecting an androgynous physicality, that was topped by cropped curly hair. A brilliant conversationalist, who was a committed womanist after reading Mary Wollstonecroft’s (Margaret Sanger) Vindication of the Rights of Women. Married to the future prime minister William Lamb (Harold Nicolson) at the age of 16. Two babies died prematurely, while their only surviving son was mentally defective, and died mad. Despite her difficult character, her husband was devoted to her, perhaps needing her excess as a counterbalance to his quiet control, although it halted his political career in its early stages. In 1812, she left him to have a scandalous affair with profligate writer and romantic extraordinaire, George Gordon, Lord Byron (Bernardo Bertolucci), whom she immortally characterized as, “Mad, bad and dangerous to know.” Writer of minor novels, including Glenarvon, in which she caricatured him. Penned the latter at night in men’s clothing, while keeping it hidden from her husband, until the date of its publication in 1816. It scandalously portrayed his mother-in-law as also falling under the spell of the poet, while publicizing her infidelity to him, much to his embarrassment. Later caused a sensation in 1821, by showing up at a masquerade dressed as Don Juan, replete with an escort of several devils. A friend of the Duke of Wellington, although largely rejected by the aristocracy of her time, which caused her to turn to her literary peers. With her husband, she helped William Godwin (Betty Friedan) and William Blake financially, while also adopting a daughter. Continued using the don juanish poet as further literary fodder, then suffered a breakdown after viewing Byron’s funeral procession in 1824. Separated from her husband afterwards, before returning to him, only to finally leave him several years before her death. Spent her last years in drunken morbid gloom, before dying of odema. Inner: Clever, beautiful, but wild to the point of madness. Profligate and romantic, continually following her unstable heart. Passionate lifetime of acting out the romantic impulses of the age, and allowing herself to be drowned in her roiling emotions. Esther Johnson (1681-1728) - British/Irish muse. Outer: Mother might have been a companion to Sir William Temple’s (Harold Nicholson) sister, in whose home she was raised. Father may have been a merchant who died prematurely, although speculation exists that Temple was her actual sire. Grew up as part of his family, and at the age of 8, the satirist Jonathan Swift (James Joyce) joined the household as a secretary. The latter left in a huff several years later when he could not get a preferred position through his employer and returned to Ireland to become a country vicar. The next time they met, she was in her mid-teens and Swift was quite struck with her beauty. When Temple died in 1699, he left her some property in Ireland, and she moved there at Swift’s suggestion, shortly after he became vicar of a rural parish. Lived in a cottage with an older companion, and probably had a chaste relationship with him, since he was supposedly impotent. Followed him to Dublin when he became dean of St. Patrick’s and proved a popular figure in that city’s intellectual circles, thanks to an innate wit and keen intelligence. Found her female peers rather dull, much preferring the company of men. Swift personified her as Stella in some of his verse, although she eventually became supplanted in his affections by the daughter of a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, Esther Vanhomrigh, whom he called Vanessa. Tensions galore continued between the three, until 1723, when the dying Vanessa asked Swift not to see her anymore, which engendered a violent quarrel twixt the two, and her swift exit from his affections. May have married him seven years earlier, although no proof exists of a ceremony and the two lived apart, with the former describing himself as unmarried and the latter calling herself a spinster. Bought a piece of property called Talbot’s Castle in 1717, then sold it, and it eventually became a diocesan school per both their wishes. Swift collected her bon mots and published them, as well as about 65 letters between the two of them. Preceded Swift in death, when her health suddenly declined precipitously, and he was inconsolable over the loss, penning a tribute to her. When he finally died some seventeen years later, he requested he be buried beside her. Inner: Witty and resourceful with the facility for making herself the center of attention. Amusing muse lifetime of serving as an inspiration to genius, as a means of awakening her own creative skills, as well as her propensity for ongoing off-beat drama in her private life. Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482) - Queen of England. Outer: Father was Rene of Anjou (Henry Luce), mother was the daughter of the duke of Lorraine. 5th child out of 10. Brought up by her Spanish grandmother in Anjou, while her father succeeded to a variety of titles, including titular King of Naples and Sicily, making her a very eligible royal catch, despite having no dowry. In 1445, she was married by proxy to the ineffectual Henry VI (Harold Nicolson), as part of a political truce, one son from union. Crowned the same year, and still only in her mid-teens, she, nevertheless, embroiled herself with a vengeance in house rivalries over the throne, while protecting the crown for her own dynastic interests. Displayed both covetousness and high-handedness in her various manipulations around supporters and estates, while winning the enmity of powerful foes. Her only child, a son, was born in 1453, right at the time her husband first began manifesting his mental incapacities. Tried to get the regency when the king was incapacitated by periodic insanity, and finally left him in disgust in 1456. Fled with her son to Scotland, then marched to London, showing great brutality in the execution of her enemies. Defeated anew, she refused to compromise when Edward IV (Ethan Hawke) usurped the throne in 1461. Retired again to Scotland, then went to France, before failing on an invasion of Northumberland in 1462, and, almost destitute, retreated once again. After several years of manipulations, she raised one more invasionary force in 1471, but delayed too long and was routed. Her son was killed, while her husband was murdered soon afterwards. Imprisoned in the Tower of London, then ransomed and released in 1476, she returned to her father’s court, where she was pensioned by the French king, but was forced to surrender all rights of succession to her French territories, and died in extreme poverty and isolation. Inner: Beautiful, passionate, tempestuous and quick-tempered, the complete opposite of her husband. Loved both hunting and reading, and was always asking for things, even when she had the money to pay for them. Scheming lifetime of emotional excess surrounding the throne, only to have her greater ambitions curtailed by an inadequate mate and greater wills than her own continually going against her. Judith (844-after 870) - French-born English queen. Outer: Daughter of Charles the Bald (Darryl F. Zanuck) of France and Ermintrude. At 12, married Ethelwulf (Harold Nicolson), the king of Essex, who was considerably older than she. Her father was concerned that her stepsons were also older, and insisted she be made queen of Wessex, to which her husband agreed. First known anointing of a queen of England. Her stepson Ethelbald (Bernardo Bertolucci) objected on the grounds that it would produce more heirs to the throne. After her husband’s death in 858, she married Ethelbald, perhaps as an act of rebellion against her deceased husband, and also as an act of surety on the part of her 2nd mate for assuming the throne. This Oedipal match was condemned by the Church and may have been undone. After the death of her 2nd husband in 860, she sold her English lands in order to return to Francia. Twice a widow before she was even 18. Eloped with Baldwin of Flanders and became Countess of Flanders. Her son married the grand/daughter of her first husband to complete her incestuous circle. Inner: Up to her usual tricks lifetime of committing an act of incestuous outrage as a statement of her own lack of control over her life. Pulcheria (399-453) - Augusta of Rome. Outer: Eldest daughter of eastern Roman Emperor, Arcadius (Roald Dahl) and Eudoxia (Mae West). Sister of Theodosius II (Harold Nicolson), for whom she served as regent, although she was only 2 years older than he was. Spoke and wrote Latin, and was well-versed in the arts, letters and science. A poet as well as a writer, she educated her brother in the arts of statecraft. Established the pious tone of the court, which remained in place throughout her brother’s long reign. Her influence waned after arranging her sibling’s marriage to an equally dominant woman, Eudocia (Hilary Mantel), with whom her relations were often strained. The latter part of his reign was dominated by a eunuch-chamberlain, although she recovered her power at its end. After her brother’s death, she married a retired soldier, Marcian (Chris Patten) who became emperor, while she continued to exert her influence over the empire. Held her chaste vows with her husband, making it an ‘in name only’ union. Along with her husband, convened the 4th Ecumenical Council in 451, a pivotal event in church his/story, which laid the foundation for the Eastern Orthodox Church. At her death, she left her possessions to the poor. Inner: Devout Christian, intent on enveloping others with her views. Sponsored the construction of a number of important buildings in Constantinople. Reverse lifetime of employing religious restraint on her usually libidinous character, to create an opposing extreme of obsessive virtue, in her love of extremes as a mean of self-definition.


Storyline: The former suicide queen has a facility for attaching herself to highly creative companions, only to lose them, before finally finding the inner resource to continue on, after numerous go-rounds of actively undoing herself because of an inability to heal her deeply wounded heart.

Yoko Ono (1933) - Japanese/American artist, musician and peace activist. Outer: Mother was a well-educated member of a prominent banking family. Father was a banker and classical pianist as well as the descendant of a 9th century Japanese emperor. Raised in wealth and privilege by nannies, along with a younger brother, while both parents were distant and emotionally inaccessible. Brought to California at the age of 2 at her sire’s behest, meeting him for the first time, since he had been transferred there when she was born. Performed publicly at 4, and attended a prestigious music school in Japan after the family’s return in 1937, where she learned piano, composition and classical voice. Spent a year in NYC, then came back to Japan, where she attended an exclusive Christian primary school, during which time she survived the 1945 fire-bombing of Tokyo, just before WWII’s end. After suffering privation, which brought out an innate aggressiveness, she was schooled with Emperor Hirohito’s sons, then dropped out of prestigious Gakushin Univ. before coming to the U.S. to rejoin her family. 5’2”, with a voluptuous figure. Went to Sarah Lawrence College, where she showed a perfect pitch gift for music, and married a Jullliard student, composer Toshi Ichiyanagi in 1956. Lived in NYC, and involved herself with the city’s avant-garde, despite parental disapproval, co-staging a series of loft events in 1960 that entered the city’s artistic annals. Collaborated with a host of luminary avant-garde musicians, while disassociating herself from her wealthy background. Worked as a waitress, as well as taught music in the city’s public schools. Divorced her husband in 1962, and acquiesced to parental wishes by returning to Japan, which depressed her so deeply, she wound up in a mental institution, after contemplating suicide. Rescued by fellow artist and musician Anthony Cox, who tracked her down, and the two married in 1963, one daughter from the union, which was annulled several months later since she had not finalized her earlier divorce. Returned to NY and remarried Cox, although the two had little in common save for a mutual overweening desire for avant-garde fame and fortune. Among her many experimental films was “Bottoms,” a panoply of naked buttocks provided by 365 friends, which she publicized by being tied to a bronze lion in London’s Trafalgar Square. Hosted both conceptual and performance art events, and met pop superstar John Lennon at a preview of one of her art shows in 1966. The two were quickly taken with each other’s wit, and became an inseparable item. Collaborated on several albums, beginning with “Two Virgins” in 1968, in which they both appeared sans knickers on the cover, and they later called themselves the Plastic Ono Band on further releases, which usually played with a whole variety of sounds, some far less than melodic. After her divorce from Cox, the two wed in 1969, following a miscarriage, and she ultimately earned considerable vitriol at the perception she had broken up the Beatles, while her music was viewed as weird with no redeeming esthetic value to it whatsoever. Held a bed-in for peace with her husband after their wedding, as the two became identified with the radical notion of nonviolence. Retained a strong animus towards Cynthia Lennon, her husband’s first wife and Paul McCartney, his fellow Beatle, which was mutual on their part as well. Saw her daughter kidnapped by her unstable ex-husband in 1971, after winning a bitter custody dispute against him. The former wound up in an evangelical Christian cult with her father for a while, then remained hidden, so that the mother and daughter were not reunited for over two decades. Constantly in the company of Lennon, with both promoting peace through various public happenings. The duo separated for a while in the early 1970s while she stayed in NY and he lived in LA with his assistant May Pang, before reconciling in 1975. In the interim, she had become a constant target for vilification for having seduced him away from pop stardom into far more personal and self-expressive music, earning an “Oh, no!” whenever her name was mentioned in conventional rock circles After their son Sean was born in 1975, Lennon disappeared from performing to become a full-time househusband, living at the Dakota in NYC. In 1980 he was assassinated by a deranged fan, and she took a photo of her husband’s blood-stained glasses afterwards, in a curious attempt to try to turn tragedy into art. The shot subsequently appeared on the cover of an album, “Season of Glass.” Went into complete seclusion afterwards, although the tragedy eventually led to her reuniting with her daughter. Took up with an antique’s dealer immediately after the shooting, which lasted for over two decades. Continued releasing albums during the 1980s, including one, which she had done with Lennon, “Double Fantasy,” which won an Album of the Year Grammy in 1982. Remained a productive public figure in the 1990s as well, collaborating with her son Sean and his band Ima on “Rising.” Had several retrospectives after the turn of the century, as well as more releases and continued to win awards for her lifework during the decade, including several honorary degrees. In 2002, she established the LennonOno Grant For Peace for artists living in areas of conflict, which would be awarded every two years. Performed at the opening ceremony for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy and also saw her bodyguard arrested for trying to extort several million dollars from her for releasing taped conversations. Inner: Name means Ocean Child in Japanese. Highly social and strong-willed with a surety to her self-appointed role as world-class musical avant-gardist. Low-key and cool despite her facility for drawing angry reaction to her as an exploiter of her final husband. Sensitive to the feelings of others, while deliberately staying in the background in public appearances with JL. Rebound lifetime of learning to appreciate herself far more in lieu of love lost by standing up to cold parental hearts and discovering she could survive anything thrown at her, through her imaginative reconfiguration of her life into one long performance piece. Dora Carrington (Dora de Houghton Carrington) (1893-1932) - British artist. Outer: Her father, to whom she was devoted, was a railway engineer. Despised her strict fussy mother, a former governess. 2nd of 2 daughters, and 4th of 5 children. Went to an all-girls school, and was encouraged by her teachers to pursue art. Received extra lessons in drawing there, via her parents’ beneficence. Won a scholarship afterwards to the Slade School of Art in London, and became a center of fascination for a number of male students there. Cut her hair into a pudding-bowl, as a fashion statement, and won several prizes for her work. Subsequently focused on both portraits and landscapes, while also dabbling in decorative arts, illustrating tiles, furniture, and occasionally, inn signs, while never really taking herself seriously as an artist. Introduced in her late teens to Lady Ottoline Morrell (Maureen Dowd), who became her entree into the social whirl of arts and letters that was exemplified by the Bloomsbury group. In 1915, she met biographer Lytton Strachey (Michael Holroyd), and promptly fell in love and soon afterwards moved in with him. He would go on to deflower her, although it was the only time the two ever slept together, since he was a confirmed homophile. Nevertheless, the two would have a 17 year platonic relationship, that would be emotionally central to both their lives. Following the death of her father in 1918, she received a small inheritance, which gave her a sense of independence. In 1921, she married Ralph Partridge, a friend of her younger brother’s, and she, Strachey, who was in love with him as well, and he would go on to share the same home, Ham Spray House, which she designed. Bisexual, she also had a number of intimate relationships with women, as well as other men, while her husband began an affair in 1926, which effectively ended their marriage, although he would continue to visit on weekends. Despite being a founding member of the Omega Group, she painted largely for own pleasure. Used only her last name, a carryover from her Slade days, in order to identify herself. Did mostly decorative work, in a naive, native style, while playing with various surfaces, including glass and tinfoil. Also did woodcuts for the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press. Put a considerable amount of her creative effort into letters, as well as the emotional demands of her intellectually incestuous group. Remained more closely connected with her Slade friends than the Bloomsburyites, particularly in her art, which veered from the uneven to the insightful. Completely distraught over Lytton Strachey’s impending premature end, after he contracted cancer. After being rescued by her husband from asphyxiating herself via a car exhaust, she saw Strachey to the end, then borrowed a gun from a neighbor and shot herself 2 months later, since she could not see living without him. Never was particularly known during her lifetime, since she didn’t sign her work, and only rarely exhibited it, so that her larger reputation rests on who she knew, rather than who she was, in keeping with the thematics of her lives among the well-known. Nevertheless, since 1970, critical appraisal of her work has steadily risen. Had a film bio made of her in 1995, Carrington, with Emma Thomson assaying her. Inner: Promiscuous and an acute observer, but as usual, with far less of a sense of herself, than her ego-filled compatriots. Neurotic, although also possessed a sense of fun and fantasy, to which people were quite attracted. Indecorously decorating lifetime of giving play to her active libido, while reserving her true heart for her one nonlibidinous relationship, in her ongoing need to define herself through others rather than herself. Fanny Wollstonecraft (Fanny Imlay Godwin) (1794-1816) - English suicide. Outer: Daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft (Margaret Sanger) and Gilbert Imlay, an American adventurer and timber merchant, who abandoned her and her mother soon after her birth. As an infant, she was witness to the excesses of the French Revolution, then returned to England, where her mother made a suicide attempt, before being rescued by her father. Sent along with a nurse and her mother to Scandinavia, in order to deal with one of her father’s speculative deals. On their return, her mother discovered her inamorata had taken up with an actress, and once more attempted suicide, only to be rescued again. Her gothic beginnings eventually morphed into a sense of stability when her mother took up with writer William Godwin (Betty Friedan), who ultimately adopted her. Older half-sister of Mary Wollstonecroft (Lynda Barry), whose birth, when she was 3, fed into the death of her own mother. Desperate for a mother for his brood of two, Godwin married again, and her pregnant stepmother added three more children to the household, two sons and a daughter, Claire Clairmont (Carrie Fisher). Afterwards her stepfather wrote a biography of her mother, which embarrassed her no end, because of her illegitimacy. After Percy Bysshe Shelley (Tim Buckley) ran off with Mary Wollstonecraft, and her other half-sister Claire joined them, she tried to act as a peacemaker within the family. Her rejection by them probably fed into her ultimate self-styled ending via a laudanum overdose. Her signature was subsequently torn off her suicide note, probably by Shelley, as an act of protection for his father-in-law, so that she was initially buried in a pauper’s grave, in a highly symbolic, and brutally self-defining act that completely obliterated her identity at the end. inner: Extremely sensitive, with a fragile ego. Had no real literary talent of her own, although was an inveterate letter writer. Self-sacrificing lifetime of coming in under hazy circumstances, and exiting in like manner, as a statement of her ongoing sense of non-being. Dorothy Boyle, countess of Burlington (Dorothy Savile) (1699-1758) - British aristocratic artist. Outer: Granddaughter of George Halifax (Hubert Humphrey). Elder daughter of a marquis who died when she was one. Her mother was his second wife, and the daughter of an earl. At the latter’s death, when she was 18, she and her younger sister inherited her father’s estates. 3 years later she married Richard Boyle, the 3rd earl of Burlington, who was known as the ‘architect earl,” and was a noted art collector. One son and three daughters from the union, which was genuinely affectionate. Only two daughters survived into adulthood, including Charlotte (Helen Carey), who married William Cavendish (Hugh Carey), although she and her sister would die young as well, so that she outlived all her children. The couple would have 3 homes, one in London, one in Middlesex and one in Yorkshire, into which her fortune would be sunk as continual manifestations of her personal esthetic. Their permanent guest for 30 years would be William Kent, a painter, designer and landscape gardener. From 1727 to 1737, she served as one of Queen Caroline’s (Pamela Harriman) 8 ladies of the bedchamber, during which time she received permission to copy portraits in the Royal Collection. Also did one of the queen on her deathbed at the end of that period. Had an extremely strong interest in design, and shared her spouse’s love of both music and the theater. Served as a patron to actor David Garrick (Richard Burton), although he ultimately resented her meddling in his first marriage. A self-taught artist through copying, her primary focus was portraiture. Often worked alongside Kent, and used a variety of mediums, including pen-and-ink and oils. Had a facile hand, and was good at swift caricature likenesses. Most of her portraiture were of her daughters. Assisted by Alexander Pope (Evelyn Waugh) in preparing her grandfather’s papers in 1750. Her husband died 3 years later, and she spent her last 5 years raging, cursing and hurling blasphemies at the unfairness of life in taking away all the members of her immediate family. Inner: Controlling and domineering. Highly developed artistic sensibilities, but also harbored great anger, which did not find release until life’s end. Brush-in-hand lifetime of giving expression to her ongoing aesthetic, until events outside her control let loose her equal sense of self-destruction, which she would continue to explore in the next series of lives in this series.


Storyline: The eminent biographer emanates erudition from his acute data-gathering skills, while cultivating odd personal looks, freelance behavior and the perceptive ability to turn both gossip and analysis into memorable life stories.

G. Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) - English biographer. Outer: Mother was father’s 2nd wife, sire was an Indian civil engineer and general. 11th child of 13. Spent 2 lonely years at the Univ. of Liverpool before applying and failing to get into Oxford. His mother saw that it was a sign he would be a poet via Cambridge, which he entered through Trinity College. Immediately met the core of the future Bloomsbury group, of which he would be a primary member. Had an unusually elongated physique, making him look quite cartoonish, along with an odd manner of speech, punctuating long silences with squeaky epithets of precise and withering insight and insult. After failing twice to win fellowships at Cambridge, he turned to journalism, contributing essays and reviews to The Spectator, as well as other journals. Put his frustrations into his poetry, the most salacious of which were privately circulated. Had an early fascination with the works of Charles Sainte-Beuve, a previous life of his. Homophile with an ill-fated sense of choosing the wrong lovers, often in competition with economist John Maynard Keynes. Despite the brazenness surrounding his sexuality, he lived in fear of arrest, along with other Bloomsburyites of similar inclination. Although medically unfit for WW I, he registered as a conscientious objector. Came into his own as a writer after the war, revolutionizing the art of biography, combining selective detail, irreverent character analysis and sexually subversive subtexts, limned in an elegant style, to better skewer his subjects. Despite his popular success in England and America, he annoyed critics who felt he dramatized events and wrote more like a novelist than an eminent biographer. Best known for Eminent Victorians, although his masterwork was his biography of Queen Victoria. Also wrote critical studies of literature. The most enduring love of his life was a platonic 17 year relationship with artist Dora Carrington (Yoko Ono), whom he met in 1915, and then deflowered, although it was the only time the two ever slept together. The duo subsequently set up house together, and, after she married Roger Partridge, in 1921, with whom he also fell in love, the trio maintained a combined household. Both delicately balanced myriad relationships to maintain their own, while continually documenting their every social and sexual move. Her husband eventually moved out in 1926, following an affair or his own, and became a weekend guest at their Ham Spray House. She killed herself 2 months after his premature death from cancer in his early 50s. At the time of his death he had meant to publicly declare his sexual orientation and work for social egalitarianism. Inner: Prim, irreverent, brilliant misfit, who took great delight in startling the sensibilities of his contemporaries. Obsessively fastidious, eschewed any sense of the vulgar. Eminently eccentric lifetime of raising the art of biography to a new level, while learning to use his own strange physiognomy and speech to advantage, rather than allow it to debilitate his ready and perceptive wit, and desire for a free, bohemian existence. Michael Holroyd (1935) - British biographer. Outer: Father was an Anglo/Irish businessman, mother was the beautiful, but flighty daughter of a Swedish rake and an ice maiden. Parents could not agree on anything, including their son’s birthdate, so he always celebrated two, 2 days apart to satisfy them both. Parents divorced when he was 8, and both had several more marriages with mates of different nationalities. Spent much of his childhood reading and hiding and making himself invisible just to ground himself, while being raised by his paternal grandparents and an aunt. Hated the science curriculum at Eton, which his father forced on him, and refused to go on with his education. Went to work, instead, as an unsalaried apprentice in a law firm for 2 years, before enlisting in the army as a member of the Royal Fusilliers. 6’1”, 175 lbs. Decided to become a writer when discharged. Impoverished, he discovered his true metier was biography. Began with a neglected English writer, then established his reputation with a sympathetic, and in its own way, revolutionary biography of Lytton Strachey, matter of factly divulging the homophilic tastes and conquests and failures of his subject at the precise time that the Sexual Offenses Act was finally passed in Britain, legalizing consensual same-sex intercourse. By investigating his own future life from the perspective of a time beyond it, he received a chance to experience it at a remove. Saw biographical writing much like an actor entering and merging with the character he plays. Best known for his monumental biography of George Bernard Shaw. Married novelist Margaret Drabble, no children from union, while the duo maintain separate households 15 minutes apart. Has written a novel, as well as edited several books. Wrote his own autobiography, Basil Street Blues, in 2000, claiming he became a biographer to escape his family and immerse himself in other people’s lives. Inner: Gracious, witty, with the ability to see himself in other people, and thereby see them in himself. Great anger towards his own childhood, which he was finally able to release in his retelling of it, along with portraits of his eccentric family. Self-discovering lifetime of investigating his own idiosyncratic nature through examination and exposition, before spinning back to the past to act out his eccentricities in far more direct fashion. Charles Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) - French critic. Outer: Father was a tax controller who died 3 months before his son was born, mother was of English descent. Despite tight family finances, he was given a good education, then went to the College Charlemagne and the College Bourbon, where he studied medicine and natural sciences to please his mother, although was more interested in a literary career. Physically uncomely, known as le matou, the ugly one, at school. Began his literary career with journalistic articles and immediately established a name for himself as a scientific critic, combining a sense of exactitude with an incisive view of literature. Accepted into the circle of romantics in Paris, and wrote several volumes of poetry, although was far more adept at interpreting literature than creating it. Became involved with the wife of romantic icon Victor Hugo (Henry Miller), causing an irreparable rift between the two. Wrote literary portraits, lectured, and in his mid-40s began a weekly series of newspaper articles on literary topics called Monday Conversations that made him famous and well-read throughout Europe. Saw writing and writers as inseparable, feeling that people of accomplishment could be predicted through their temperaments. Made Conservateur of the Mazarin library, elected to the Academie Francaise, and held several lectureships and professorships, resigning from one when his political views were deemed unpopular. Also made a senator in 1865, which eased his later financial burdens, although his only real foray into politics was his rousing defense of Ernest Renan, whose works had been attacked by the Senate. Kept up his literary productivity until his death, though his failing health in his last years made it impossible for him to write in a sitting position and he had to work standing up or lying prone. Although he enjoyed a high reputation during his lifetime, later reassessment saw him as somewhat myopic and more of a literary portraitist than a truly perceptive critic. However, he did manage to inaugurate modern literary criticism as a re-creative, rather than a dogmatic pursuit, with the reader left to draw his or her own conclusions from the material revealed. Inner: Great curiosity, insatiable gatherer of information. Ungainly, but socially adept. Data dispensing lifetime of continuing his exploration of odd looks and penetrating observations of the lives and literature around him. John Aubrey (1626-1697) - British biographer. Outer: Father was gentleman of fortune. Grandfather was a well-known legal figure. Sickly as a boy, he was educated privately, then at Trinity College, Oxford. Driven from school by smallpox and civil war, he spent 3 sad years in the country. Entered Middle Temple, but was never called to the bar. Inherited his father’s estates in 1652, as well as his lawsuits. Careless and extravagant, he soon was reduced to poverty. Retained his library and scientific interests and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in his late 30s. Sold his last property in 1670 and 7 years later, was forced to sell his books. Having lost everything, save his sense of humor, he was no longer subject of lawsuits. Spent the rest of his time as an entertaining guest in many homes, remaining unmarried. Knew most of the famous people of his day, and left copious memoranda and letters. Had a particular interest in both personality and antiquities. Best known for his Lives of Eminent Men. Often wrote employing the horoscopes of his subjects in order to give him a sense of their essence. Empowered by a patent to make antiquarian surveys under the crown, and left much antiquarian and his/storical material in manuscript form, first to a cantankerous friend, then to the Ashmolean Library. Became the first to link Stonehenge with the Druids. Only a collection of his stories were published in his lifetime. Inner: Buoyantly cheerful, careless, yet shrewd assessor of people and places. Less the writer than the anecdote-teller. Compulsive compiler of information. Permanent guest lifetime of giving vent to the idea that a loving universe will support his eccentricities, while pursuing his ongoing fascination with collecting lives of the well-known and turning them into memorable storytelling.



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