In the gaiety of 1920s Paris and London, Diaghilev drew together an amazingly talented group of like-minded artists such as Picasso, Bakst and Fokine, the dancers Nijinsky, Lifar and Karavina, and the composers Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev. As the dominant father figure of the Ballets Russes from their inception in 1909, Diaghilev was admired, feared, loved and hated in equal measure.
Joy Melville’s major new biography, published on the centenary of the foundation of the Ballets Russes, brings to life and brief and daring age of sophisticated and hedonistic pleasure, set against a swiftly changing world.
Melville explores Diaghilev’s tempestuous and destructive affair with his protégé Nijinsky, who descended into schizophrenia, and his friendship with Jean Cocteau, searching all the while for Diaghilev the man, what motivated. him, amused him, angered him and inspired him.
JOY MELVILLE is a former journalist and the author of Ellen and Edy, a study of Ellen Terry and her daughter Edith Craig. She is also the author of Mother of Oscar – The Life of Jane Francesca Wilde, Julia Margaret Cameron – Pioneer Photographer and Ellen Terry.