The unpublished memoirs of Romaine Brooks

No Pleasant Memories

by Romaine Brooks, 1930

Romaine Brooks lived a life worth writing about. A non-monogamous lesbian and world traveler, Brooks became famous for her evocative portraiture that paired her subjects with their spirit animals, and for her grim sense of style — black tailored jackets and top hat that she designed herself. Brooks began writing her memoirs while laid up with a sprained leg in 1930. At 56 years old, she would live for 40 more years. But No Pleasant Memories marked a pivotal time in Brooks' life — deep in introspection, she was transitioning from painter to drawer. During her bed-rest, she wrote hundreds of pages exploring her childhood, and its effect on her life and work. At the same time, she made more than 100 drawings of angels, demons, animals and monsters.

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The Drudgery (Of Society)

I to bring to these people my spontaneous good-will; my art ... while on the other hand, they bring to me nothing but their unfriendly, inquisitive and mischievous selves.


Who can hope to attack effectively what indifference has made invincible?


I was in my bathtub when the first Big Berthe fell. It was evident that some new terror was upon us.

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