Author(s): Sarah Watling
The four Olivier sisters were emancipated, determined and wild in an age when society punished women for being so. Margery and Daphne studied at Cambridge at a time when education was still thought to be damaging to ovaries. There they met Rupert Brooke and formed the Neo Pagans, initiating a web of entanglements that would challenge even the sisters' unbreakable bond. Daphne later became a pioneering educationalist, and set up Britain's first Steiner school, and Noel joined a tiny minority of female doctors before the First World War.
Drawing on recently available personal documents and interviews with their descendants, Noble Savages brings the sisters in from the margins, tracing lives that span the colonial leisure of the Caribbean, the bucolic life of Victorian progressives, the frantic optimism of Edwardian Cambridge, the bleakness of war, their links with the Bloomsbury Group, and a host of evolving philosophies for life over the course of the twentieth century. It offers a vivid portrait of sisterhood in all its complexities, and rediscovers the Oliviers within the varied fortunes of the feminism of their times.