Circles: Natalie Clifford Barney

Brooks & Barney

Well…this was inevitable, wasn’t it? Once the idea of mapping connections between writers, artists and undefinable members of semi-forgotten scenes was in the air, it was a given that writer, saloniste and singular cultural catalyst Natalie Clifford Barney (born on this day in 1876) would turn up at the midpoint of one of these busy diagrams.

One of the most prominent of Paris’s 20th century American expatriates, Barney networked at an Olympian level. This diagram is largely limited to her close relationships, none of which was of greater duration or intensity than that with painter Romaine Brooks. But if you want to know who came to her weekly literary salon, which lasted an extraordinary 60 years, just make a list of every prominent author who lived in or spent any length of time in Paris during that period and it’s likely they would have been there.

Thinly veiled literary works both by and about Barney abound, full of tempestuous passions, relics of a time when you couldn’t even score a fingerbang on the Left Bank without someone penning a roman à clef about it.

click through for a more legible view

Further reading
Salon queen, Pearls: Natalie Clifford Barney
Grey eminence, Romaine Brooks | drawings, The Other Amazon (Romaine Brooks)
Goodbye Dolly (Dolly Wilde)
Caribbean Queen, Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3Before Whale Cay, Dress-down Friday: Joe Carstairs (Joe Carstairs)
Float like a butterfly, sting like a butterfly, Arthur Cravan: poet, boxer, blogger, Three shows, Arthur Cravan est vivant!, Pearls: Arthur Cravan
World Famous Aerial Queen, Dress-down Friday: Janet Flanner, El hombre elefante, Pearls: Janet Flanner
Dress-down Friday: Djuna Barnes, Djuna 40/80/120, Circles: H.D./Bryher, Djuna Barnes | drawings
Dress-down Friday: Thelma Wood
Dada Baroness, Strange Flowers guide to Berlin, part 2 and 4, I am such miserable thing (Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven)
Monsieur le Marquis, La Marquise de Sade, Dress-down Friday: Mathilde de Morny
Sodom’s ambassador to Paris, A Lorrain special, part 1 and part 2 (Jean Lorrain)
Pearls: Colette



  1. I will never understand how Mina Loy managed to stay so horribly, rigidly straight with friends like these. I mean really.

  2. Pingback: Pearls: Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven « Strange Flowers

  3. James, what would it be like to take a crack at the legacies matrix? Could you take it out three generations or more? I expect you could. What fun… For instance, I see you have a page on Philippe Jullian. Start there….

  4. Pingback: Circles: Charles Henri Ford « Strange Flowers

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  6. Pingback: Pearls: Djuna Barnes | Strange Flowers

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  8. Love the circles chart, really illustrates one of the more fascinating elements about these people, all the connections and degrees of separations.

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  13. Chris B. de L.

    Through Winaretta Singer, Princess (Edmond) de Polignac, you can arrive at Violet Keppel Trefusis (lover) and Olga, baroness de Meyer,(lover) Violet Trefusis leads to Vita Sackville-West.

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  15. Yep, good one Chris B. de L.

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