5 thoughts on “Judith Mackrell, Bloomsbury Ballerina

  1. My first wife had a maiden great-aunt Monica, who lived with her parents. She had worked for Boosey and Hawkes and had met Lydia, Anna Pavlova, Diaghilev, Arthur Rubinstein, Jan Paderewski – both before and after he became Prime Minister of Poland – and many others. My great regret is that in my teens I was only vaguely aware of who they all were at the time and so failed to engage in the details of her recollections. I shall buy the book to discover what I missed.

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  2. I have now finished the delightful Bloomsbury Ballerina. Rather tantalising, is the suspicion that I may have met her. My (then) fiancée and certainly went to see an old lady in the shadow of Firle Beacon (I lived in Lewes) as a family duty and it may well have been that Lydia and Monica were still in touch. The book also confirms all my deliciously violent prejudices against the viciously unkind Charleston and Monk’s House inhabitants – you may recall my mentioning that another girlfriend’s mother was Leonard Woolf’s secretary.

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  3. I agree, Bloomsbury Ballerina is a beautifully entertaining biography. There are serious problems with Mackrell’s research though, not least of which being her confusing Lydia and her sister Evgenia in their St Petersburg days. The whole lengthy episode of Lydia having been taken out of school to appear in the 1903 premiere of The Fairy Doll is incorrect. This was without doubt Lydia’s older sister Evgenia, who continued dancing that same role for the next 10 years. Even the photo Mackrell uses of “Lydia” in this role is actually Evgenia.


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