The Constant Nymph
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The Constant Nymph

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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 marriage...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published November 26th 2004 by Virago Press Ltd (first published 1924)
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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 wa...more
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...more
"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...more
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?


When I bought this book, on the basis of its odd name and pretty cover, I really did not imagine that it would be anything but romantic trash. It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find that it was a novel full of rich and varied descriptions, humor, and some unexpectedly beautiful metaphors. I cannot really fault the way the story was told, and thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book. Unfortunately, I was prevented from loving it completely because the romance at the center of the sto...more
one of the best books i ever read. It leaves you with a dreamy, creative, slightly sad aftertase.
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bastante bosta:

Entrada en el diario 1 de Faedyl desde City Bell, Buenos Aires Province Argentina en viernes, 14 de agosto de 2009
5 de 10

Una 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.
Babe Rainbow
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.
I enjoyed the writing and the story but the love between a young girl and a man more than twice her age was essentially very creepy. His being a brilliant artist did not make it any more acceptable.
This is one of those books I knew absolutely nothing about before reading. Picked up an old copy at random at a used book sale. Fell in love with it - very sweet story.
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.
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.
Really surprised by how much I liked this. A sprawling cast of characters, but with a few key personalities at the center holding it all together, and a great wisdom about human affairs underscoring it all too. I suspect I'll be revisiting this later on.
Rachael Eyre
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.
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.
Jeanne Ferris
One of my favorite books, full of believable, complicated, and unexpected characters. The scene when Lewis remembers hearing birds fly overhead at night in his childhood, and Tessa's and Florence's different reactions to his telling the story, is a gem.
Full of sly humor and wide-ranging compassion. Still, Florence's only partly comprehensible transformation from eager young woman into grasping tyrant and Lewis's failure to transform into anything but egocentric made this weary reading at times.
I don't know what to make of the conclusion. Most of the Virago books are overtly feminist in some way; this one is more focused on social, class, and national differences, for a start.
such a sad little story.Why are people like this?
Heartbreakingly beautiful.
Anna Maria
So perfectly written!

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Margaret Kennedy was an English novelist and playwright.
She attended Cheltenham Ladies' College, where she began writing, and then went up to Somerville College, Oxford in 1915 to read history. Her first publication was a history book, A Century of Revolution (1922). Margaret Kennedy was married to the barrister David Davies. They had a son and two daughters, one of whom was the novelist Julia Bir...more
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