Bedford, Sybille (1911—)

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Bedford, Sybille (1911—)

Anglo-German journalist, novelist and biographer. Born Sybille Von Schoenebeck in Brandenburg, Germany, on March 16, 1911; daughter of Elizabeth Bernard and Maximilian Von Schoenebeck; educated at village and private schools in Germany, Italy, England and France; married Walter Bedford, in 1935.

Selected works:

A Legacy (1956); Faces of Justice (1961); Favourite of the Gods (1963); A Compass Error (1968); Biography of Aldous Huxley (1973–74); Jigsaw: An Unsentimental Education (1989).

Details of Sybille Bedford's life have been revealed largely through her semi-autobiographical fiction. She was born in Brandenburg, Germany, to Elizabeth and Maximilian Von Schoenebeck on the eve of World War I. As Germany met with defeat, her parents separated. Sybille remained in Baden with her father while attending village schools, but she often traveled in Europe on holiday with her mother. At age 19, living alone in England while her mother was in drug rehabilitation in Italy, Bedford wrote her first novel A Legacy in 1930 (it would be published more than two decades later, in 1956). She was also introduced to Aldous Huxley, a writer who inspired her, and found stability staying in the London home of family friends. There, she undertook a study of the legal system, later securing work as a law reporter.

In the 1950s, she returned to novels and, over the next 20 years, produced six books, including the two-volume set on Huxley, commissioned by his family. Sybille Bedford spent more than a decade working on her autobiographical Jigsaw: An Unsentimental Education, which appeared in 1989.

Crista Martin , Boston, Massachusetts

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Bedford, Sybille (1911—)

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