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Khan, M.R. (1973). Mrs Alix Strachey (1892–1973). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:370-370.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:370-370

Mrs Alix Strachey (1892–1973)

M. Masud R. Khan

In a pencilled postscript to her letter of 2 March 1922, Lou Andreas-Salomé asks of Professor Freud: 'Please send my greetings to my poor beautiful Red Indian.' The reference is to Mrs Alix Strachey. Quentin Bell, in his biography of Virginia Woolf, talks of 'a tall and grave young woman called Alix Sargant Florence' and 'the austere and melancholy Alix'. As one reads through the biographies, diaries, letters and autobiographies of that extraordinary mélange of personages that was the Bloomsbury Group, one encounters Alix Strachey everywhere: sentient and allusive. All talk with tenderness and relish about her, yet nowhere does one find enough of a narrative to define her person for oneself. This reticence and unobtrusiveness were typical of her to the very end.

Though I had known the Stracheys for some 20 years, it was only after Mr Strachey's death that I got to know Mrs Alix Strachey personally. Tasks relating to the 24th volume of the Standard Edition had necessitated our meeting. Alix Strachey was a tall, gaunt and handsome woman. At first I felt rather nervous in her precarious and fragile presence. She was gracious, hospitable, courteous and resolutely distant. As our acquaintance grew I was surprised by two things: first, by the size of her contribution to the translation and editing of the 23 volumes by James Strachey, and how impeccable were her judgement and diligence in the editorial tasks, so much like her husband's; second, the extraordinary range of her own scholarship in literature.

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