David Garnett

David Garnett books and biography

David Garnett

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David Garnett (1892–1981) was a British writer and publisher, and a prominent member of the Bloomsbury group. He was born March 9, 1892 in Brighton, England, and died February 17, 1981 in Montcuq, France. As a child, he had a cloak made of rabbit skin and thus received the nickname "Bunny" by which he was known by friends and intimates all his life.

The only child of Edward Garnett and Russian translator Constance Garnett, Garnett wrote the novel Aspects of Love, on which the later Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical was based. He ran a bookshop near the British Museum with Francis Birrell during the 1920s. He also founded (with Francis Meynell) the Nonesuch Press.

His first wife was illustrator Rachel "Ray" Marshall (1891-1940), sister of the last surviving member of the Bloomsbury group, Frances Partridge. He and Ray had two sons, but she died relatively young of breast cancer.

Although Garnett was primarily heterosexual, he had brief homosexual affairs in his youth with Francis Birrell and Duncan Grant. He was present at the birth of Grant's daughter, Angelica Bell, on December 25, 1918 and wrote to a friend shortly afterwards, "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 -- will it be scandalous?". When Angelica was in her early twenties, they did marry (on May 8, 1942), to the horror of her parents.

They had four daughters (Amaryllis, Henrietta, and twins Nerissa and Frances), but later separated. Their eldest daughter Amaryllis Garnett (1943-1973) was an actress. Henrietta Garnett, their second daughter, eventually married Burgo Partridge, her father's nephew by his first wife Ray; she oversees the legacies of both David Garnett and Duncan Grant.

After his separation from Angelica, Garnett moved to France and lived at the Chateau de Charry, Montcuq (near Cahors) until his death in 1981.


  • Turgenev (1917)
  • Dope Darling (1919) novel, as Leda Burke
  • Lady into Fox (1922) novel
  • A Man in the Zoo (1924) novel
  • The Sailor's Return (1925) novel
  • Go She Must! (1927) novel
  • The Old Dove Cote (1928) stories
  • A Voyage to the Island of the Articoles by Andr Maurois (1928) translator
  • Never Be a Bookseller (1929) memoirs
  • No Love (1929) novel
  • The Grasshoppers Come (1931)
  • A Terrible Day (1932)
  • A Rabbit in the Air. Notes from a diary kept while learning to handle an aeroplane (1932)
  • Pocahontas (1933)
  • Letters from John Galsworthy 1900-1932 (1934)
  • Beany-Eye (1935)
  • The Letters of T. E. Lawrence (1938) editor
  • The Battle of Britain (1941)
  • War in the Air (1941)
  • The Campaign in Greece and Crete (1942)
  • The Novels of Thomas Love Peacock (1948) editor
  • The Golden Echo (1953) autobiography (i)
  • The Flowers of the Forest (1955) autobiography (ii)
  • Aspects of Love (1955)
  • A Shot in the Dark (1958)
  • A Net for Venus (1959) novel
  • The Familiar Faces (1962) autobiography (iii)
  • Two by Two (1963) novel
  • 338171 T. E. (Lawrence of Arabia) by Victoria Ocampo (1963) translator
  • Ulterior Motives (1966) novel
  • The White/Garnett Letters (1968) correspondence with T. H. White
  • Carrington: Letters & Extracts From Her Diaries (1970)
  • First 'Hippy' Revolution (1970)
  • A Clean Slate (1971)
  • The Sons of the Falcon (1972) novel
  • Purl and Plain (1973) stories
  • Plough Over the Bones (1973) novel
  • The Master Cat (1974)
  • Up She Rises (1977)
  • Great Friends. Portraits of Seventeen Writers (1979)
  • David Garnett. C.B.E. A Writer's Library (1983)
  • The Secret History of PWE: The Political Warfare Executive, 1939-1945 (2002)


  • Heilbrun, Carolyn G. The Garnett Family (1961) also on Richard Garnett, Jeremiah Garnett, Edward Garnett, Constance Garnett

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