Friday, July 24, 2015

Mendel, A Story of Youth (Mark Gertler)

Found - a rare 1916 first edition of Mendel, A Story of Youth by Gilbert Cannan. The novel is a roman a clef about the artist Mark Gertler and has much on his disastrous affair with Bloomsbury Goddess Dora Carrington. The verse dedication is to her:

To D.C.

Shall tears be shed because the blossoms fall,
Because the cloudy cherry slips away,
And leaves its branches in a leafy thrall
Till ruddy fruits do hang upon the spray 
Shall tears be shed because the youthful bloom

And all th'excess of early life must fade
For larger wealth of joy in smaller room
To dwell contained in love of man and maid?
Nay, rather leap, O heart, to see fulfilled
In certain joy th'uncertain promised glee,
To have so many mountain torrents spilled
For one fair river moving to the sea.

Gilbert Cannan entertained Mark Gertler, Katherine Mansfield and D H Lawrence among others
to a famous 1914 Christmas party at Cholesbury Mill in Buckinghamshire and between 1914 and 1916 Gertler was a frequent visitor. Gertler used Cannan’s shed as a studio and his painting of Gilbert Cannan at his Mill now hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (for which much thanks).

Between 1914-15 Gertler pursued a frustrating love affair at Cannan's  Mill and elsewhere with Dora Carrington, who eventually left him to live with Lytton Strachey. Their relationship is the subject of the 1995 film Carrington*. After Strachey’s death in 1932 Carrington committed suicide.

*Rufus Sewell played a fiery Mark Gertler in the movie. Below is a sample from Christopher Hampton's script - Gertler is very annoyed that Carrington is in love with Strachey:

Mark Gertler: Haven't you any self-respect? 
Dora Carrington: Not much. 
Mark Gertler: But he's a disgusting pervert! 
Dora Carrington: You always have to put up with something.


3 comments:

  1. In this reader's humble opinion, "Carrington" is the only film about the Bloomsbury Group worth watching. It is a warts and all depiction of some key characters, well-acted, and avoids the twee romanticism too many willingly associate with Bloomsbury.
    It will be quite interesting to see the forthcoming BBC television series, "Living in Squares", apparently focused on Duncan Grant's exploits.
    I recently watched the BBC 4 documentary series, "How to be a Bohemian with Victoria Coren Mitchell," in which there is a segment on the Bloomsbury Group. Ms. Mitchell made no bones about her disdain for a group of people so beloved by the hordes who read their books, collect reproductions of their art, and visit their houses. The host simply refused to believe that their complicated love triangles made anyone happy and rejected the charming Charleston Farm as a twee getaway for a group of people whose art and bohemianism were basically affectations of rich people who brought along their servants on holiday. Virginia Nicholson was Mitchell's guide at Charleston and elegantly handled the host's righteous indignation rather well. The host, walking about the garden after leaving behind Ms. Nicholson turns to the camera and tells the viewer that she doesn't like these people, the whole lot of them, because they were rich and(in her view, apparently), being rich disqualifies people from being artistic bohemians because "rich people have always done whatever they want anyway." At least she reluctantly admitted that Virginia Nicholson was "a nice enough lady."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joe Simpson WalkerJuly 24, 2015 at 9:12 AM

    Unfortunately hey no longer seem to make TV documentaries without some egotistical presenter's face perpetually in front of the camera.

    Gilbert Cannan was at one time proposed to be the first English translator of "Remembrance of Things Past" - as he probably wouldn't have called it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Anon and Joe. I quite liked VCM programme about bohos but point taken. She can be very witty.
    Did not know GC was a Proust candidate but glad Scott Moncrieff was selected. Much Bloomsbury coming on BBC 'Life in Squares' real soon. Must dust down my Hogarths! N

    ReplyDelete