The Constant Nymph

The Constant Nymph Tessa is the daughter of a brilliant bohemian composer Albert Sanger who with his circus of precocious children slovenly mistress and assortment of hangers on lives in a rambling chalet high in t

  • Title: The Constant Nymph
  • Author: Margaret Kennedy
  • ISBN: 9780860683544
  • Page: 117
  • Format: Paperback
  • Tessa is the daughter of a brilliant bohemian composer, Albert Sanger, who with his circus of precocious children, slovenly mistress, and assortment of hangers on, lives in a rambling chalet high in the Austrian Alps The fourteen year old Tessa has fallen in love with Lewis Dodd, a gifted composer like her father Confidently, she awaits maturity, for even his marriageTessa is the daughter of a brilliant bohemian composer, Albert Sanger, who with his circus of precocious children, slovenly mistress, and assortment of hangers on, lives in a rambling chalet high in the Austrian Alps The fourteen year old Tessa has fallen in love with Lewis Dodd, a gifted composer like her father Confidently, she awaits maturity, for even his marriage to Tessa s beautiful cousin Florence cannot shatter the loving bond between Lewis and his constant nymph.

    One thought on “The Constant Nymph”

    1. It's been a while since I read this book, but I remember how much I enjoyed it!I read this book after I saw the movie version from 1943 with Charles Boyer and Joan Fontaine. The book was just as lovely and sad as the movie was and it was very well written. The story is about a young girl that has a crush on an older man who instead is more taken with her older cousin. A very good coming of age story.

    2. Albert Sanger was a brilliant composer, English by blood, European by choice; a man of loose morals and unpredictable temperament. Following in his wake (and footsteps) is a managerie of children, both legitimate and not. This story focuses on primarily two of these children, Antonia and Tessa, (Tessa being the Constant Nymph of the title) and a young composer named Lewis Dodd whose intimate ties with the family will have far reaching effectsSo this was pretty fascinating. In some ways I couldn' [...]

    3. This was Kennedy's second novel, and easily her most famous, a bestseller also made into a very successful play and movie. The title character is Teresa (Tessa) Sanger, daughter of bohemian musician and composer Albert Sanger, whose large family lives in the Austrian Alps. They have frequent visitors to their small chalet, including gifted composer Lewis Dodd, with whom Tessa falls in love; since she's only fourteen, though, she has to wait until she's older. Unfortunately, in the meantime, Lewi [...]

    4. The Constant Nymph was wildly successful in the 1920s. A bestselling novel! A popular play! A Hollywood film! And yet it disappeared. Fell out of print, until Virago picked it up and made it a Modern Classic – number 121!There was an intriguing love triangle at the centre of the story, set against a colourful backdrop.Lewis Dodd was a young composer, hugely promising and already enjoying a degree of success. He came from a conventional English family but he was drawn to a freer, more bohemian [...]

    5. "There's no use crying about it.""No use," agreed Teresa.But the tears poured down her face, whether she would or no, until she conceived the happy idea of trying to water a primula with them. Immediately the flood was dried, after the manner of tears when a practical use has been found for them."And it would have been interesting," said Paulina sorrowfully, "to see if it would have made any difference to the primula."Margaret Kennedy examines interpersonal dynamics with a keen eye and an acerbi [...]

    6. A novel about a circle of bohemian adults and children in the months following the death of their father and mentor, a brilliant but little-known English composer. 1924.Full review (and other recommendations!) at Another look bookA gem of a book, truly. Not my favorite Margaret Kennedy--The Feast and Lucy Carmichael still hold that honor, as well as the infinitely prestigious awards of #1 and #2 Bree's Best Books of All Time. But The Constant Nymph is still some really solid literature. Kennedy' [...]

    7. A complex tale somewhat flawed by its at-times chaotic mix of too many characters, with some of their fates trailing off into oblivion. The crux of the story lies within a few of the extended bohemian family, and drew me in as it went to its surprising conclusion. I loved the musical angle, which is very much of its time, and can forgive the non-pc nature of the story for the same reason. I plan to explore several more of Margaret Kennedy's novels.

    8. From what I've gathered from the back-of-book summary, this may have been the 1920s equivalent of 50 Shades. It was the top-selling book of the decade (in England? overall? who knows), has some scandalous affairs, and displays the relationship/character depth of a wading pool. Now y'all know me: I love my cross-generational shit, but I can't stand romance novels. This was way more 'romance novel' than 'cross-generational shit' -- and because the characters were all so flat and vapid, except mayb [...]

    9. See my full review at The Emerald City Book Review. I found this novel a fascinating window into a time when the world had been shaken by one war but was not yet foreseeing the next, when social and artistic certainties were being questioned in all sorts of ways. The main characters belong to a Bohemian artistic circle centered around an expatriate English composer living in the Alps, and the first part of the book introduces us to his extremely unconventional menage, including a brood of childr [...]

    10. This novel was huge 'n' controversial in its day. Simone de Beauvior was a fan. Tis about a musical genius who renounces the Alps and his soulmate for London and a society girl. It depicts civilisation as an estrangement from beauty. And condemns the common experience of culture as cosmestic. Frustrating ending. *remembrance gah*Who wants to abscond to the Alps with me?image58.webshots/158/9/80/*baits*

    11. This should just be called 'Sanger's Circus.'Or something like that. Not The Constant Nymph.The "bohemian", charmingly eccentric family is the heart of the book, the center of the story. Known as Sanger's Circus. Title right there. Of course, this is 90 years later. And that great beginning to the book lasts only 80 pages. But it is still a very, very good novel. Somewhat in the vein of Wharton. The end is a bit cheesy. The title is terrible. I think it's supposed to mean something like The Eter [...]

    12. If I'd read this as a teenager I think I'd have a different view of it.I couldn't really get past that Tess was 14/15 and Lewis twice her age. I couldn't understand why no-one in the book ever said it was wrong of Lewis to encourage Tess. There was a scene where she acted as hostess for him in lieu of his wife and everyone thought it natural for them to be together, how suited they were.That said, the book was well written, but of its time, a bit old fashioned.

    13. I liked this book until the end. The end was melodramatic and contrived. I won't tell you what happens, but you will probably be able to guess as there is foreshadowing. Maybe the whole book was unrealistic, but I was willing to go along until those final few chapters. I'm honestly grumpy about this, so I can't bring myself to write any more.

    14. Fascinating discussion on this book on Front Row, BBC Radio 4, 08/08/2014 (bbc/programmes/b04cfzxr). This book appears to have been lost to the general public for many decades, but when it was first published it was incredibly well received by critics, other authors, and the public. (Among the authors who wrote to praise Kennedy were Thomas Hardy and JM Barrie, and Noel Coward and then John Gielgud starred in the later stage adaptations.) It appears to be a very modern novel and addresses issues [...]

    15. I enjoyed this. Her writing style was very nice, descriptive but not flowery. And the story was a good one. Based on the description on the back, I was a little concerned that it would be "pedophilia-y" (because the main character starts as a 12 year old) but it's not creepy at all. I thought Kennedy did a wonderful job developing her characters. The story is a little twisty and odd and there were many oppotunities for the characters' actions to feel false, but they never did.

    16. The Constant Nymph was Margaret Kennedy’s second novel, and probably her most successful and well known. I absolutely loved it, at once fully involving myself with the characters, as I became immersed in the world of ‘Sanger’s Circus’. I think Margaret Kennedy might be an author whose work I will have to read much more ofad full review: heavenali.wordpress/2014/1

    17. This novel was a huge hit when it was published and gave way to many film adaptations. It appears old-fashioned and somehow dated now, yet it remains charming, maybe actually because it is old-fashioned, and its strange romanticism remains intriguing.

    18. Highly unusual story positing a different plane of behavior and psychology for the artistic - who recognize one another, must share a disregard society's conventions of civility, gentility, kindness - as well as the purported absurdity of an adolescent girl and a married sophisticated composer in his 30s - falling in romantic, sexual love. I can well see why this was scandalous when published - it would be so today. Yet I found it fascinating. The author clearly places high on pedestals, those w [...]

    19. I read this a while ago and did not enjoy it very much, although it was useful to have as a reference in reading other interwar novels as it was such a touchstone of the times. As I recall, the titular character is a 1920s version of the Manic Pixie Dream-Girl, and the novel really does not hold up on a variety of fronts.

    20. I have a friend who has occasionally referred to The Constant Nymph at various times over the years but since I had never heard of it from anyone else and she generally seemed to be disparaging it I was never tempted to read it. However recently the movie with Joan Fontaine and Charles Boyer aired on TCM so I impulsively recorded it and put a hold on a copy of the book from the library.Unfortunately since I started watching the movie and looking for opinions of the book before I actually got a c [...]

    21. I was quite captivated by the early parts of this book, and throughout the dialogue is very sharp and characterisation full of insights. In fact I agree with all the points made in Joanna Briscoe's introduction to this edition. Part I, set in the Alps, has irresistible energy to it. The description of composer Albert Sanger's odd and barely functional establishment, made up of an assortment of children from different marriages and ill-matched guests, is superb. The plot really starts moving when [...]

    22. My Spanish grandmother had a copy of this book at her home and for this reason I have been meaning to read it for quite some time. Finally, this was my chance and what a beautiful Virago edition, bottle green, with a haunting "modern dress" picture of Ophelia on the front.I understand now why my grandmother chose to buy and read this novel, as she was a big classical music and opera buff, just like the characters in this story, composers, musicians and devoted hangers-on -often, the latter were [...]

    23. Green buckram rebinding, disintegrating sulfide paper pages, smells divine.A great read. Kennedy's few lapses (Tessa "losing track" of Kate and Caryl; the change from useless duffer to kindly uncle Charles; the unexplained change in Tessa's diction; the romantic death ending) can be easily forgiven when measured against the perceptive exploration of the clash between convention and art, and the painful exposure of all the men's emotional imbecilities. While the romanticism of Ze Great Artiste is [...]

    24. Wow - this is one of the best books I have ever read. Brilliant characterisation. This world is brought vividly to life, and the clash between the civilised Florence and the wild Sangers is really well described. I first read this thirty years ago, just re-read it, and it's as good as ever. Note that Kennedy doesn't sentimentalise the Sangers, or Lewis. She understands their selfishness, their insularity, and even their cruelty, while still portraying them as sympathetic characters, perhaps as e [...]

    25. I've read a lot of books about this period and written in this period and I was excited to read this, but I didn't love it. I found a lot of the characters to be irritating, and not in a so irritating you want to keep reading to see them to get their comeuppance kind of way, just in a blah this lot annoy me way.I'd rather read one of the Nancy Mitford novels again. And I've loved some of the Virago classics and the Persephone ones from the same period. A shame this one didn't grab me.Still, I'm [...]

    26. bastante bosta:-*-*-*-*Entrada en el diario 1 de Faedyl desde City Bell, Buenos Aires Province Argentina en viernes, 14 de agosto de 20095 de 10Una historia basada en personajes muy afectados, demasiado al extremo. Entretiene pero puede entreverse el final. Algunos giros de la historia empero son interesantes, y esta bien descripto, lo que más me ha gustado es el desarrollo de los escenarios.

    27. My favourite book when I was younger. While I've read others I like better since, it still packs an emotional wallop. Love really is blind in this case; while a fifteen year old eloping with her dad's best friend sounds like the stuff of tabloid headlines, Kennedy turns it into a sensitive, heartbreaking story. I still don't like Florence, aka the wife, any better, but I understand her motives now I'm her age.

    28. For some reason I started this without realising it was essentially about a neglected and abused child being preyed on by various people. It succeeded in being creepy and realistic, although it was more depressing than I had bargained for so I didn't enjoy it much.

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