Dorothy Bussy

Dorothy Bussy (née Dorothea Strachey, 24 July 1865 – 1 May 1960) was an English writer and translator.

She attended the Marie Souvestre boarding school for girls at Les Ruches, Fontainebleau, in France, from which she would later draw some elements to write her novel Olivia (1949). Dorothy was the sister of writer and critic Lytton Strachey, a founding member of the Bloomsbury Group.

She married the French painter Simon Bussy in 1903, despite her family’s opposition. They had a daughter, the painter Jane Simone Bussy. Through her brother and her husband, Dorothy remained close to the Bloomsbury group (she had a love affair with Lady Ottoline Morrell, among other women). Bussy was also friends with André Gide and E. M. Forster.

Dorothy worked as a teacher at Souvestre’s Allenswood Academy in London (and one of her pupils was Eleanor Roosevelt). Later, she also worked as a journalist, an art critic, and as a translator – and rendered many of André Gide’s books into English. In 1949, she anonymously published a novel, Olivia, printed by Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press. Bussy’s book is said to have been heavily inspired by Leontine Sagan’s film Mädchen in Uniform (1931), as well as by Colette’s novel Claudine at School (1900). Bussy dedicated her novel “to the very dear memory of Virginia W.“, and Rosamond Lehmann wrote the introduction for its French edition.


  • Olivia, by Olivia (1949)
  • Fifty Nursery Rhymes (children’s verse, 1958)
  • Correspondance André Gide–Dorothy Bussy, edited by Jean Lambert, 3 volumes (1979, 1981, 1982)
    • English: Selected Letters of Andre Gide and Dorothy Bussy, edited by Richard Tedeschi (1983, abridged version)

About her

  • Bloomsbury and France: Art and Friends, by Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright (1999)
  • Dorothy Bussy and Julia Strachey: dialogues in modernity, by Kathryn Holland (2008)
  • Glorious eccentrics: modernist women painting and writing, by Mary Ann Caws (2006)

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