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The life of Sybille Bedford—a whirlpool of overlapping affairs

If the novelist had been more productive she would have had less fun

By Fatema Ahmed   December 2020
Sybille Bedford Credit: publisher handout

Sybille Bedford Credit: publisher handout

Despite having a name reminiscent of a no-nonsense Home Counties hostess, the novelist and bonne vivante Sybille Bedford was born Sibylla von Schoenebeck in Charlottenburg, near Berlin, in 1911. Her father was a middle-aged baron of limited means whose second marriage to Bedford’s mother—a much younger British-born heiress of Jewish origin with an intellectual bent—was a disaster. Eventually her mother took Sybille to France where they became friends with Aldous Huxley and his wife Maria, as well as a number of…

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