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Books

When Rex met Edith: a meeting of minds in interwar England

Anna Thomasson’s A Curious Friendship details the artist Rex Whistler’s shared fantasy land with the much older novelist Edith Olivier

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

A Curious Friendship: The Story of a Bluestocking and a Bright Young Thing Anna Thomasson

Macmillan, pp.432, £20

Rex Whistler — this book’s ‘bright young thing’ — was an artist of the 1920s and 1930s, and Edith Olivier, the ‘bluestocking’, was a novelist. They both deserve to be more famous than they are, and Anna Thomasson’s absorbing joint biography will doubtless make them so. They met through Stephen Tennant in 1924, when Olivier was 51 and Whistler was a 19-year-old student at what he called ‘the darling Slade’.

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £17.50 Tel: 08430 600033. Frances Wilson’s How to Survive the Titanic won the Elizabeth Longford Prize in 2012.

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