Nancy Cunard

Nancy Cunard was an heiress who rejected her family’s values and spent much of her life fighting racism and fascism.

“She became a muse to some of the 20th century’s most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, Henry Crowder, and Louis Aragon, who were among her lovers, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Constantin Brancusi, Langston Hughes, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams.”

She edited and published “Negro” (1934), an almost 900-page anthology of black history and culture and a call to “condemn racial discrimination and appreciate the . . . accomplishments of a long-suffering people.” In August 1936, she moved to Spain to cover the civil war there. Exasperated by the international community’s failure to intervene, she used her reporting to denounce Franco’s brutality and demand help for his victims.

In the end, Nancy Cunard declined into severe mental illness, exacerbated by heavy drinking. But she was the real thing, by all accounts.

She is the anti-Daphne Guinness, although Daphne may somehow conceive herself to be a renegade on a level with Cunard. Â  And look how Cunard rocks the biker jacket and turban, effortlessly cool without having to stumble around on 10 inch heels!

I’m sure you’re all well aware of Nancy Cunard. Nobody ever tells me anything! Better late than never.

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54 Responses to “Nancy Cunard”

  1. subWOW Says:

    Sort of wandered around the interwebz and chanced upon your blog. Thanks for this post. I listen to NPR exclusively and that’s how I heard about her… Thank goodness for the Internet… Isn’t it amazing (sadly) that it takes the Internet for people such as Cunard to become better-known than she previously was (before the Internet)? Now we just need somebody to make a movie based on her life story! (Please please please don’t make Jolie play her…)

  2. OMGGMAB Says:

    Fighting racism is noble, brave. Bravo, Nancy Cunard. And thank you Sister for bringing her into the forefront. I shall read more about her.

    An observation: Frequently, individuals who have greatly influenced history (in any genre) are considered “nut cases” for one reason or another. Few people have the burden of having their lives dissected and studied under the microscope of historians and public opinion. That is the cost of fame; infamy if you will. Ultimately, our human history is written those whose voices, actions, and personas rise above the societal din.

    How many of us could have our lives minutely examined and remain unscathed in the nut case category?

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  4. Odile Lee Says:

    Cool as fuck, love her!

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