Olivia. Olivia, pseud. of Dorothy Bussy.


London: The Hogarth Press, 1950. Early Printing. Octavo, publisher's lavender silk cloth, spine and upper board gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.

Sixth printing of Bloomsbury member Dorothy Bussy (née Strachey)'s pseudonymously published lesbian classic. Set in a French finishing school, the roman à clef is centered around a teenage girl who becomes emotionally and erotically entangled with her headmistress. Drawing on her own experiences as a pupil at the prestigious Les Ruches, founded and operated by the charismatic and proto-feminist Marie Souvestre, the novel inevitably caused controversy upon appearance. Notably, the novel almost emerged 15 years prior to its original publication in 1949, but Bussy's close friend and confidante André Gide (whose works she often translated) downplayed the potential significance of the narrative, causing her to put the draft away in a drawer for a decade and a half. Only two years after its appearance the novel was adapted into a film by Jacqueline Audry with a screenplay written by Colette. Dedicated to Virginia Woolf, whose publishing imprint the Hogarth Press issued the book. Dust jacket designed by Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant. Contemporary gift inscription in a fine hand to front endpaper. Offsetting to endpapers from binder's glue; unclipped dust jacket with moderate chipping and wear. Very good. Item #2669


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