“I got to know Leonard as well as you can do without meeting someone,” she continues. “I got to know all his oddnesses, preoccupations, obsessions. What made him angry. How he was rational to the point of irrationality. People often ask me if I would have liked him as a friend. He was a very good friend to women. He was a political feminist, but he was a natural feminist, too. He was very appreciative of the sort of work women did, including the hidden work that a lot of women did in the offices of the newspapers and magazines and publishers he worked in. I think he would have made a rather good friend.”

Virginia Woolf, of course, has become far more famous than her husband. I ask Glendinning if she feels Leonard would be remembered today if he hadn’t married the writer. “He would be remembered in different places for different things. In Ceylon, where he spent a number of years on colonial service, he is better known than his wife, because of his first novel, The Voyage Out, which is set there, and still in print there. Another place he has constituency is in the field of international relations: his theories are still important and discussed in academic institutions like the London School of Economics. He has gone down in the annals of the Labour Party as being their Eminence Grise in the period they were first coming into power. A lot of the MP’s were from the provinces, and were not particularly well educated or experienced: he did a fantastic service advising, briefing, educating, giving access to his hinterland of wisdom. He was an influential journalist writing for and editing the New Statesman, which was at the time required reading for the chattering classes. He set up the Hogarth Press. He had a bitty career, what we now call a portfolio career, because he spent so much time looking after his wife’s needs. But an important one in many ways.”


Leonard Woolf and GE Moore in Asheham House,
now Beddingham landfill site