Yvonne Kapp, best known today for her biography of Eleanor Marx, was a remarkable woman whose life spanned virtually the entire twentieth century. Born in London to a German-Jewish family in 1903, she endured and uneasy and resentful childhood - a prelude to her later rebellion in leaving home at eighteen and studying journalism. At nineteen she met and fell in love with Edmond Kapp, an artist twelve years her senior whom she married very much against her parents' will. An itinerant relationship lived on the fringes of the intellectual-bohemian world - the Kapps took a walking honeymoon in the Riviera and Yvonne worked as a literary editor of Vogue in Paris - had by 1930 come to a painful end. She returned to London and, acutely aware of political developments in wartime Europe, threw herself into more serious and purposeful work, campaigning and fundraising for anti-fascist refugee committees. Subsequently she became chief research officer for the Amalgamated Engineering Union, writing speeches and, as at the British Medical Research Council later, publishing surveys which prompted changes in working conditions, health and safety and women's pay. She continued working well into her seventies, mainly as a translator and biographer. These are the memoirs of a woman who was modern and yet ambivalent about the joys of 'freedom'; of someone who was steeped in the political life of her age and remained a member of the Communist Party from 1935 until she died. Above all, they are the memories of a writer, whose vivid and elegant prose captures the changing cultural and political climate in which a twentieth-century life was lived to the full. "In memoirs and autobiographies the incidental is as historically suggestive as the major event - like the game of Dr Crippen and Miss Le Neve ('thrillingly dressed as a boy') which Yvonne and her brother play in childhood ...Life-stories, however formal or informal, remind us that history is also about the making of ourselves, through our fears and fantasies, and that the world inside and the world outside are lived in tandem, like the present and the past: the woman in her eighties remembers the little girl of six who is in turn imagining herself a despatch rider on a confidential mission, 'whizzing' about the lawn on her new cycle and 'leaving a pattern of crushed silver snakes on the sparkling grass'. " - Alison Light, from the Preface
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 576 g
Dimensions: 203 x 152 x 25 mm
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