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Valentine Ackland - A Transgressive Life

  • Pocket

  • 2021

  • Engelsk

At last, a biography of Valentine Ackland.

Frances Bingham has written the definitive biography of this remarkable cross-dressing woman, poet and activist, recovering an important part of British lesbian history and creating a testament to queerness and gender identity in Valentine’s transgressive life. 

Mrs. Turpin was Valentine Ackland, on the run from her recent disastrous marriage. She was soon to meet the love of her life, Sylvia Townsend Warner, already a celebrity for her dashing debut novel Lolly Willowes. They would live in Dorset together in a passionate relationship until Valentine’s death in 1969.

Valentine was a dedicated poet, deeply involved with Communism during the 1930s, and an environmentalist and peace campaigner. Recently released MI5 files show that she was blacklisted for confidential work during World War II, and remained under long-term surveillance. 

Despite her commitment to Sylvia, Valentine had many affairs with women who fell for her androgynous beauty and her masterful conduct of an amour. She also struggled with alcoholism, but the relationship with Sylvia survived all challenges.

"Bingham prompts the reader to keep turning the pages of this well-researched, idiosyncratic, and fascinating biography." – New York Journal of Books

"The cross-dressing Communist lesbian, her closet gay husband … and a love story like no other." – The Daily Mail 

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