PORTRAIT OF A SEDUCTRESS BY JEAN CHALON

Reading Liane de Pougy’s journals, I was intrigued by one of the characters that appeared throughout her life story as possibly the biggest love of her life: Natalie Clifford Barney.

Liane mentions her in the notebooks as eternally beautiful and breathtakingly intelligent. I was curious to read about her and that is how I picked this book. But I was disappointed. She was not half as interesting as Liane. The daughter of a wealthy American family, she just played with life the way she chose, from beginning to the end. She was quite brave, open and unapologetic in regards to her homosexuality, but beyond that she never used her life and her many fortunes for anything of worth.

She did publish a few volumes of poetry and memoirs, but it’s starting to seem to me that everyone from that kind of circle did. Her works fell into the unknown even before her death.

I wrote about Liane that she was a searcher for the truth, well Natalie Barney seems to have believed that she had all the answers. She only catered to her personal pleasure and not much else. She refused to stay in a monogamous relationship until the end of her life. The most shocking aspect of her life for me, was that in the end, when she was in her 70s, she started a new relationship with yet another woman and painter Romaine Brooks, her partner for decades, couldn’t take another betrayal and left, broken hearted that she couldn’t spend the last days of her life with Natalie.

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