Isobel Violet Hunt (September 28, 1862 –January 16, 1942) was a British author and literary hostess. Her father was the artist Alfred William Hunt, her mother the novelist and translator Margaret Raine Hunt. Hunt was born in Durham and the family moved to London in 1865. Hunt's writings ranged over a number of literary forms, including short stories, novels, memoir, and biography. An active feminist, her novels The Maiden's Progress and A Hard Woman were works of the New Woman genre, while her short story collection Tales of the Uneasy is an example of supernatural fiction. Her novel White Rose of Weary Leaf is regarded as her best work, while biography of Elizabeth Siddall is considered unreliable. She was also active in writers organizations, founding the Women Writers' Suffrage League in 1908 and participating in the founding of International PEN in 1921.
Despite her considerable literary output, Violet Hunt's reputation rests more with the literary salons she held at her home, South Lodge, in Campden Hill. Among her guests were Rebecca West, Ezra Pound, Joseph Conrad, Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence, and Henry James. She helped Ford Madox Ford establish The English Review in 1908. Many of these people were subsequently characterized in her novels, most notably Their Lives and Their Hearts.
Though never married, Violet Hunt carried on a number of relationships, mostly with older men. Among her lovers were Somerset Maugham and H. G. Wells, though her most notable affair was with the married Ford Madox Ford, who lived with her from about 1910 to 1918 at her home South Lodge (a period including his brief 1911 imprisonment). She was fictionalized by Ford in two novels: as the scheming Florence Dowell in The Good Soldier and as the shrewish Sylvia Tietjens in Ford's tetralogy Parade's End. She was also the inspiration for the character Rose Waterfield in W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Moon and Sixpence and Nora Nesbit in Of Human Bondage. Violet Hunt died of pneumonia in her home in 1942.
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Acquisition Note: Source: Purchased from Covent Garden Bookshop.
Accession number 1313 (Correspondence to E.S.P. Haynes)
Accession number 1353 (Correspondence to Miss Veloin). Purchased from Bertram Rota Ltd Booksellers, October 1972.
See also Ford Madox Ford Papers
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