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Cunard, Nancy (1896-1965) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Cunard, Nancy (1896-1965)

Historical Note:

Nancy Clare Cunard ( March 10, 1896 - March 17, 1965) was an English writer, editor, publisher, political activist, anarchist and poet.  She became a muse to some of the 20th century's most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, and Louis Aragon, who were among her lovers, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Constantin Brancusi, Langston Hughes, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams. In later years she suffered from mental illness, and her physical health deteriorated. She died penniless at age 69.

During World War II, Cunard worked, to the point of physical exhaustion, as a translator in London on behalf of the French Resistance.

After the war, she gave up her home and traveled extensively. She suffered from mental illness and poor physical health, worsened by alcoholism, poverty, and self-destructive behavior. She was committed to a mental hospital after a fight with London police; but, after her release, her health declined even further, and she weighed only sixty pounds when she was found on the street in Paris and brought to l'Hôpital Cochin, where she died two days later.

Her body was returned to England for cremation and the remains were sent back to the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris. Her ashes rest in urn number 9016.

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