Dorothy Bussy (née Strachey) (1865 or 1866–1960), English novelist and translator.
Family Background and ChildhoodEdit
Dorothy Bussy was a member of the Strachey family, one of ten children of Jane Strachey and the great British Empire soldier and administrator Lt-Gen Sir Richard Strachey. Writer and critic Lytton Strachey and the first English translator of Freud, James Strachey, were her brothers. She was educated at the Marie Souvestre (1830-1905) girls' school at Les Ruches, Fountainebleau, France and later in England when Souvestre removed the school to the Allenwood Academy there. She was later a teacher with Souvestre, and one of her pupils was Eleanor Roosevelt. Dorothy Bussy and Marie Souvestre were both strong influences on the young Eleanor.
Personal life Edit
She later married the French painter Simon Bussy (1870-1954), who knew Matisse, and was on the fringes of the Bloomsbury circle. She was bisexual, which was common in those circles, and was involved in an affair with Lady Ottoline Morrell. She became friends with Charles Mauron the lover of E.M. Forster.
Dorothy Bussy anonymously published one novel, Olivia, in 1949, printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf, in which lesbian loves get entangled in the emotional and sexually-charged atmosphere of erotic pedagogy in a girls' school. As well as drawing on her own experiences in the schools of Marie Souvestre, the novel's theme probably owes much to Bussy's viewing of the 1931 German film Madchen in Uniform, that had been distributed in England before the war. It may also owe something to Colette's novel Claudine at School (1900). Bussy's novel was translated into French and appeared in France with an introduction by Rosamond Lehmann. It was filmed, with the lesbian elements toned down, in France in 1951. A BBC radio dramatisation was broadcast in the 1990s. In 1999 her novel appeared at number 35 on a '100 best lesbian and gay novels' list.
Dorothy Bussy was also a close friend of the French Nobel Prize Winning author Andre Gide, whom she met by chance in the summer of 1918 when she was fifty-two, and with whom she struck up a lively correspondence. She adored him, although he was a married homosexual and thus unavailable to her, and she later translated all his works into English. Their long-distance friendship lasted for over thirty years. Their letters are published in Richard Tedeschi's Selected Letters of Andre Gide and Dorothy Bussy, and there is also a three-volume French edition. The originals are preserved in the British Library.
Her daughter was the painter Jane Simone Bussy (1906-1960).
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