Edith Sitwell

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Dame Edith Sitwell was a British poet and critic and the eldest of the three literary Sitwells (three siblings who formed an identifiable literary and artistic clique around themselves in London in the period roughly 1916 to 1930). She never married, but became passionately attached to the gay Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew, and her home was always open to London’s poetic circle.

The poems she wrote during the war include Street Songs (1942), The Song of the Cold (1945), and The Shadow of Cain (1947), all of which were much praised. “Still Falls the Rain” about the London Blitz, remains perhaps her best-known poem.

Alongside her poetry, Sitwell published four books of prose, which she always claimed were written simply for money. These include two books about Queen Elizabeth I, as well as Victoria of England and English Eccentrics.

Sitwell lived from 1961 until her death in a flat in Hampstead in London, which is now marked with an English Heritage blue plaque.


Alexander Pope (1930)
The English Eccentrics (1933)
Victoria of England (1936)
I Live under a Black Sun (1937)
Fanfare for Elizabeth (1946)
The Queens and the Hive (1962)
Taken Care Of (1964)

Clowns’ Houses (1918)
Rustic Elegies (1927)
Gold Coast Customs (1929)
Aspects of Poetry (1934)
Street Songs (1942)
The Song of the Cold (1948)
Façade, and Other Poems 1920-1935 (1950)
Gardeners and Astronomers (1953)
Collected Poems (1957)
The Outcasts (1962)

Titles from Edith Sitwell