Vernon Lee, the pseudonym of Violet Paget (1856-1935) was born in Boulogne of British parents. After early travels she settled in Florence. In 1880 her Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy earned her acclaim as a critic, followed by later studies of Renaissance art to which she added a number of philosphical and sociological works. She also wrote a manual of aesthetics, essays and two novels. Satan the Waster (1920), a dramatic trilogy, embodied her belief in pacificism. Among her many contemporary admirers were Robert Browning, Walter Pater, George Bernard Shaw, James McNeill Whistler and Edith Wharton (Wharton's The Ghost-Feeler 0 7206 1152 0 is the perfect companion to this volume). A portrait of Vernon Lee by John Singer Sargent hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.