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The first thing I see in a man is the woman by his side

Natalie Barney was a muse for her age. A chance encounter with Oscar Wilde when only six years old ( she would later have an affair with his niece Dolly) helped change her outlook on life.
She moved to Paris and in 1909 started her famed salon at Rue 20 Jacob, with its Temple de l'Amitié (Fr.) sometimes called the Sapphic centre of the Western World and which ran for 60 years.
This was where Ezra Pound met Olga Rudge. Although polyamorous Natalie had a 50 year relationship with Romaine Brooks.
In 1927 she started an Académie des Femmes (Women's Academy) to honor women writers. The cast of females involved in Natalie Barney’s Fridays is vast and includes: Sylvia Beach, Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy, Colette, Nancy Cunard, Janet Flanner, Radclyff Hall, Hadine Hwang, Zita Jungman, Marie Laurencin, Toupie Lowther, Liane de Pougy, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Renee Vivien, and Virginia Wolff.
Here are a couple of brief interviews with her biographer; and some photos.
In 2009 Dayton got around to honoring her but by July 2010 the marker had been vandalized.
posted by adamvasco on Mar 27, 2011 - 13 comments

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