Rosamond Lehmann

Rosamond Nina Lehmann[1] CBE (3 February 1901 – 12 March 1990), was an English novelist and translator. Her first novel, Dusty Answer (1927), was a succès de scandale; she subsequently became established in the literary world and intimate with members of the Bloomsbury set. Her novel The Ballad and the Source received particular critical acclaim, and her books The Echoing Grove and The Weather in the Streets were filmed, one version in 1983 with Michael York and Joanna Lumley which was the second time the BBC had filmed that book, but this version also included sections of " Invitation to the Waltz".

Rosamond Lehmann with her brother John and Lytton Strachey
In the 1920s with her brother John and Lytton Strachey

Life and writings

Rosamond Lehmann was born in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, the second of four children of Rudolph Chambers Lehmann (1856–1929) and his American wife, Alice Mary Davis (1873–1956), from New England. Rosamond's father was a Liberal MP, founder of Granta magazine and editor of the Daily News. Her older sister was Helen Chambers Lehmann (1899–1985), and her younger sister was the actress Beatrix Lehmann (1903–1979). Her younger brother was John Lehmann (1907–1989), the writer and publisher. The American playwright Owen Davis was her cousin,[2] and her great-grandfather Robert Chambers founded Chambers Dictionary.[3] Her great-uncle was the artist Rudolf Lehmann.

Home educated, in 1919 she won a scholarship to Girton College, Cambridge. She graduated with a second class degree in both English Literature (1921) and Modern and Medieval Languages (1922). In December 1923[4][5] she married Walter Leslie Runciman (later 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford) (1900–1989), and the couple went to live in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was an unhappy marriage:[6] they separated in 1927 and were divorced later that year.

In 1927, Lehmann published her first novel, Dusty Answer, to great critical and popular acclaim. The novel's heroine, Judith, is attracted to both men and women, and interacts with fairly openly gay and lesbian characters during her years at Cambridge. The novel was a succès de scandale. Though none of her later novels were as successful as her first, Lehmann went on to publish six more, as well as a play (No More Music, 1939), a collection of short stories (The Gypsy's Baby & Other Stories, 1946), a spiritual autobiography (The Swan in the Evening, 1967), and a photographic memoir of her friends (Rosamond Lehmann's Album, 1985), many of whom were famous Bloomsbury Group figures such as Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Dora Carrington, and Lytton Strachey. She also translated two French novels into English: Jacques Lemarchand's Genevieve (1948) and Jean Cocteau's The Holy Terrors (1955). Her novels include A Note in Music (1930), Invitation to the Waltz (1932), The Weather in the Streets (1936), The Ballad and the Source (1944), The Echoing Grove (1953), and A Sea-Grape Tree (1976).

In 1928, Lehmann married Wogan Philipps, an artist who later succeeded his father as Wogan Philipps, 2nd Baron Milford. They had two children, a son Hugo (1929–1999) and a daughter Sarah, also known as Sally (1934–1958). The family lived at Ipsden House in Oxfordshire between 1930 and 1939. The marriage fell apart during the late Thirties with her husband leaving to take part in the Spanish Civil War. During World War II Lehmann helped to edit and also contributed to New Writing, a periodical edited by her brother, John Lehmann. She had an affair with the journalist Goronwy Rees and then a "very public affair" for nine years (1941–1950) with the married poet Cecil Day-Lewis, who eventually left her to marry his second wife, Jill Balcon.

An active opponent of fascism, Lehmann spoke at anti-fascist meetings in 1938 in Paris and London.[7]

The Weather in the Streets (1936) was made into a movie in 1983 and starred Michael York and Joanna Lumley. Lehmann visited the film set in Cheltenham.

Her 1944 book The Ballad and the Source depicts an unhappy marriage from the point of view of a child, and has been compared to Henry James' What Maisie Knew.

Her 1953 novel The Echoing Grove was made into the 2002 film Heart of Me, starring Helena Bonham Carter as the main character, Dinah.

The Swan in the Evening (1967) is an autobiography which Lehmann described as her "Last Testament". In it, she intimately describes the emotions she felt at the birth of her daughter Sally, and also when Sally died abruptly of poliomyelitis at the age of 23 (or 24) in 1958 while in Jakarta, Indonesia. She never recovered from Sally's death and claimed to have had psychic experiences related to Sally, which were documented in Moments of Truth.

Lehmann was appointed a CBE in 1982. Nearly blind from cataracts, she died at home in Clareville Grove, London on 12 March 1990, aged 89.



  • Selina Hastings, Rosamond Lehmann: A Life, 2002
  • Diana E Lestourgeon, Rosamond Lehmann, 1965
  • Marie-Jose Codaccioni, L'Oeuvre de Rosamond Lehmann: Sa contribution au roman féminin (1927–1952), 1983
  • Judy Simons, Rosamond Lehmann, 1992
  • Gillian Tindall, Rosamond Lehmann, 1985
  • Wiktoria Dorosz, Subjective Vision and Human Relationships in the Novels of Rosamond Lehmann, 1975
  • Wendy Pollard, Rosamond Lehmann and Her Critics: the Vagaries of Literary Reception, 2004
  • Françoise Bort, Marie-Françoise Cachin, Rosamond Lehmann et le métier d'écrivain, 2003.
  • Ruth Siegel, Rosamond Lehmann: a Thirties Writer, 1990



  1. ^
  2. ^ "FICTION: Dusty Answer". Time. 3 October 1927.
  3. ^ Introduction to Virago Press edition, publ. 2000, ISBN 978-1-84408-294-0
  4. ^ "ROSAMOND LEHMANN (1903–1990)"[1]. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  5. ^ "The Papers of Rosamond Nina Lehmann" [2]. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  6. ^ Anne Chisholm, reviewing Selina Hastings's biography comments: "He panicked when she became pregnant and insisted on an abortion, after which he praised her for being once again "all clean and clear inside"." See Anne Chisholm. "Love in a Literary Climate" The Daily Telegraph 2 June 2002. [3]
  7. ^ Selina Hastings, Rosamond Lehmann: A Life Random House, 2012 ISBN 1448104947 (pp. 193–95)

External links

Beatrix Lehmann

Beatrix Alice Lehmann (1 July 1903 – 31 July 1979) was a British actress, theatre director, writer and novelist.Lehmann was born in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. She trained at the RADA and made her stage debut as Peggy in a 1924 production The Way of the World at the Lyric Hammersmith. She also appeared in films and on television. She wrote short stories and two novels, including Rumour of Heaven, first published in 1934 (ISBN 014016166X). In 1946 Lehmann became director and producer of the Arts Council Midland Theatre Company.She was awarded Britain's Radio Actress of the Year in 1977. In 1978 she appeared in the Doctor Who serial The Stones of Blood as Professor Emilia Rumford. Although no one knew it at the time of recording, this would be her final television appearance. She played Susan Calvin in "The Prophet", an episode of the British science fiction series Out of the Unknown. In 1979 she played Mrs Pleasant in a film version of The Cat and The Canary. Other roles include parts in Z-Cars, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, War and Peace, Love for Lydia, Staircase, and Crime and Punishment.

English PEN

English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, the worldwide writers’ association. Established in 1921, the organisation promotes freedom of expression and literature across frontiers. English PEN is a registered charity in England & Wales, and is governed by a board of trustees that is elected from and by members. The current President of English PEN is Philippe Sands. The Director is Jo Glanville.

Gillian Tindall

Gillian Tindall (born 4 May 1938) is a British writer and historian. Among her best-known works are the books City of Gold: The Biography of Bombay (1992) and Celestine: Voices from a French Village (1997). Her novel Fly Away Home won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1972. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Tindall also worked as a journalist, writing stories for The Guardian, The Evening Standard, The Times, and The Independent – and for many years she was a regular guest on the BBC Radio 3 arts discussion programme, Critics' Forum. Since 1963 she has lived in Kentish Town, North London.

Invitation to the Waltz

Invitation to the Waltz may refer to:

Invitation to the Waltz (film), a 1935 British film

Invitation to the Waltz (novel), a 1932 novel by Rosamond Lehmann

Invitation to the Dance (Weber), sometimes mistranslated Invitation to the Waltz, an 1819 piano piece by Carl Maria von Weber

Invitation to the Waltz (novel)

Invitation to the Waltz is a novel by Rosamond Lehmann, first published in 1932 by Chatto & Windus Ltd. The prequel to Lehmann's The Weather in the Streets (1936), the novel follows the preparations of two sisters, Kate and Olivia Curtis, for Sir John and Lady Spencer's dance.


Ipsden is a village and civil parish in the Chiltern Hills in South Oxfordshire, about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Wallingford. It is almost equidistant from Oxford and Reading, Berkshire.

John Lehmann

Rudolf John Frederick Lehmann (2 June 1907 – 7 April 1987) was an English poet and man of letters. He founded the periodicals New Writing and The London Magazine, and the publishing house of John Lehmann Limited.


Lehmann is a German surname.

Les Enfants Terribles

Les Enfants Terribles is a 1929 novel by Jean Cocteau, published by Editions Bernard Grasset. It concerns two siblings, Elisabeth and Paul, who isolate themselves from the world as they grow up, an isolation which is shattered by the stresses of their adolescence. It was first translated into English by Samuel Putnam in 1930 and published by Brewer & Warren Inc. A later English translation was made by Rosamond Lehmann in 1955, and published by New Directions (ISBN 0811200213) in the U.S., and Mclelland & Stewart in Canada in 1966, with the title translated as The Holy Terrors. The book is illustrated by the author's own drawings.

It was made into a film of the same name, a collaboration between Cocteau and director Jean-Pierre Melville in 1950, and inspired the opera of the same name by Philip Glass. The ballet La Boule de Neige by the choreographer Fabrizio Monteverde with music of Pierluigi Castellano is based on this novel. The story was adapted by the writer Gilbert Adair for his 1988 novel The Holy Innocents, which was the basis for the 2003 film The Dreamers directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

List of alumni of Girton College, Cambridge

This is a list of alumni of Girton College, Cambridge.

Olivia (Bussy novel)

Olivia is the only novel by Dorothy Bussy (but not her only personal literary work); it was published in 1949 by Hogarth Press, the publishing house founded by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Bussy wrote it in French and signed her work with the pseudonym "Olivia." "Olivia" had been the name of one of Dorothy's sisters who died in infancy. The book was translated into English and then retranslated back into French. Bussy dedicated it "to the very dear memory of Virginia W."

Pastoral (1944 novel)

Pastoral is a novel by the English author Nevil Shute. It was first published in 1944 by Heinemann. Its theme is that even in the midst of war, and among warriors, everyday life, such as romance, will continue.

R. C. Lehmann

Rudolph Chambers "R.C." Lehmann (3 January 1856 – 22 January 1929) was an English writer and Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1906 to 1910. As a writer he was best known for three decades in which he was a major contributor to Punch as well as founding editor of Granta magazine.

Selina Hastings (writer)

Selina Shirley Hastings (born 5 March 1945) is a British journalist, author and biographer.

The elder daughter of Francis, 16th Earl of Huntingdon, by his second marriage to Margaret Lane, Hastings was educated at St. Hugh's College, Oxford, where she took an MA degree.Hastings has written books including Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady (1985), Nancy Mitford (1986), The Singing Ringing Tree (1988), The Man Who Wanted to Live Forever (1988), The Firebird (1995), Evelyn Waugh (1995), Beibl Lliw Y Plant (1998), Rosamond Lehmann (2002) and The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham (2010). She is a past recipient of the Marsh Biography Award.Several of Hastings' works have received critical attention. Reviewing Nancy Mitford for The New York Times, William McBrien questioned Hastings' sparse documentation of some of the facts in the book. He praised the book for its depiction of that historical period. Evelyn Waugh was reviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and The Spectator. Rosamond Lehmann was reviewed in The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham was reviewed in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.Hastings was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) in 1994. Among others she and her sister, Lady Harriet Shackleton, are in remainder to several ancient English baronies, including those of Hastings and Botreaux.

Society of Authors

The Society of Authors (SoA) is a United Kingdom trade union for professional writers, illustrators and literary translators that was founded in 1884 to protect the rights and further the interests of authors. As of June 2017, it represents more than 10,000 members and associates.

The SoA vets members' contracts and advises on professional issues, as well as providing training, representing authors in collective negotiations with publishers to improve contract terms, lobbying on issues that affect authors such as copyright, UK arts funding and Public Lending Right.The SoA administers a range of grants for writers in need (The Authors' Contingency Fund, The Francis Head Bequest and The P.D. James Memorial Fund) and to fund work in progress (The Authors’ Foundation and K Blundell Trust), awarding more than £250,000 to writers each year.The SoA also administers prizes for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translation and drama, including the Betty Trask Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Women's Prize for Fiction.The SoA acts as the literary representative for the estates of a number of writers. This list includes George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Philip Larkin, E. M. Forster, Rosamond Lehmann, Walter de la Mare, John Masefield and Compton Mackenzie.Authors of all kinds are eligible to join, whether they are already established or at the beginning of their careers.

The Ballad and the Source

The Ballad and the Source is a novel by Rosamond Lehmann, first published in 1944 by Collins in the UK. Set in Edwardian England, the book deals with the relationship between Rebecca, a young girl, and Sibyl Jardine, a complicated and domineering elderly woman.

Contemporary reviewers compared the novel to the work of Henry James, though the book's feminism was then considered unfashionable.Lehmann returned to the character of Rebecca in her last novel, A Sea-Grape Tree (1976), which follows her as an adult dealing with betrayal by a married lover.

The Weather in the Streets

The Weather in the Streets is a novel by Rosamond Lehmann which was first published in 1936. When it was published it was an instant best-seller, selling particularly well in France.

Wogan Philipps, 2nd Baron Milford

Wogan Philipps, 2nd Baron Milford (25 February 1902 – 30 November 1993) was the only member of the Communist Party of Great Britain ever to sit in the House of Lords.

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