Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Sitwell, Sacheverell

(1897-1988) UK poet, critic and writer, the least-known of the Sitwell siblings when they were alive but in recent years increasingly deemed the most formidable of the three. Some of his narrative poetry, like Dr Donne and Gargantua (1930), is of fantasy interest; and Poltergeists: An Introduction and Examination Followed by Chosen Instances (1940), though it does not focus on Poltergeists in fiction, is an eloquently presented compendium of instances. He remains of greatest interest for the Entertainments of the Imagination sequence of meditations: Dance of the Quick and the Dead: An Entertainment of the Imagination (1936), Sacred & Profane Love (1940), Primitive Scenes and Festivals (1942), Splendours and Miseries (1943), The Hunters and the Hunted (1947) and Cupid and the Jacaranda (1952). Neither fiction nor fantasy, the sequence nevertheless compellingly encompasses the fantasist's imaginative Playground in the visual arts, music and fiction, doing so in a style reminiscent of Vernon Lee's nonfiction books about Italy. Though not formally part of the sequence, two further works – Journey to the Ends of Time: Lost in the Dark Wood (1959) and For Want of the Golden City (1973) – continue the elaborate traversal. An early volume of poems, The Hundred and One Harlequins (coll 1922), makes the Commedia dell'Arte connection explicit. [JC]

further reading: The World of Sacheverell Sitwell (1980) by Denys Sutton.

Sacheverell Sitwell

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.