(Natalie Clifford Barney)


Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972)
Natalie Clifford Barney (1898)

Natalie Barney was born in Dayton, Ohio to Albert Clifford Barney and Alice Pike Barney. Both parents came from extraordinary wealth and provided Natalie with every possible advantage. Like most young women in her class in the height of Victorian Imperialism, she was haphazardly educated and encouraged to promote her personal charms in the pursuit of a suitable husband. Extremely independent in her ideas, Natalie questioned such convention and proceeded to live her life in accordance with her beliefs. Her pursuits included French culture, French literature, Greek literature and romancing women. Of these enterprises, her quest for women has been the most notorious. Her endeavers in French and Greek influenced her earliest writings: Quelques portraits-sonnets de femmes, Cinq petits dialogues grecs. These works focused on the idealization of Pre-Raphaelite feminine beauty and romantic love between women. Her most acclaimed works, Pensees d'une amazone, Traits et portraits, Souvenirs Indiscrets, Selected Writings, Adventures of the Mind, and A Perilous Advantage reflect the witicisms and observations of the salon room. Her darkest novel, The One Who is Legion, was influenced by her intimate relationship with Romaine Brooks. The theme of the book may also reflect Ms. Barney's attempt to resolve Renee Vivien's death.


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