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The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh Paperback – August 21, 1997
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Charlotte Mosley's careful collection of Nancy Mitford's and Evelyn Waugh's delightfully careless letters immerses one in a lost whirl. The two writers met in London in the late 1920s, but their correspondence didn't take off until mid-World War II, when it quickly became an exaggeration-fest. Mitford, for example, matches Waugh's surreal reports from Europe with one about an M.P. swelling up before his fellow politicians' eyes: "Well, it took 2 ambulances to get him away & now he lies on 4 beds with his trunk hanging out the window. Let nobody say that war time London lacks fantasy."
For the next 21 years, these gifted gossips would render the ridiculous sublime and vice versa, turning (and then only mildly) serious in discussions of reading and writing, preferring to glide over the problematic and emotional. Throughout, Mitford likes to play the euphoric, lazy pupil, Waugh the master grammarian, theologian, and meanie. The exchanges on their own works in progress--particularly on Brideshead Revisited and The Pursuit of Love--are an important addition to literary history, but the book's true exhilaration lies in Mitford and Waugh's knowing--and knowingly vile--comic timing. Irresistibly offensive. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Mosley's family connection to Mitford (she is married to Mitford's nephew) provided access to voluminous correspondence that led to a previous collection of the novelist's letters. This volume, entirely devoted to the exchange of correspondence between two celebrated members of Britain's literati, spans the years 1944 through 1966 and chronicles the great friendship between Waugh, author of, among other books, Brideshead Revisited, and Mitford, who wrote The Sun King and other books. Snippy in their repartee, Mitford and Waugh consistently entertain each other. Without a doubt, they will also entertain readers interested in vicariously stepping back in time to connect with writers, artists, and political figures, such as Graham Greene, Cecil Beaton, and Randolph Churchill. Witnessing the circle of well-known acquaintances that crossed the paths of these two lively, provocative, and intimately connected minds provides endlessly fascinating material for reflection. Alice Joyce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
You'll read about Waugh picking at Miss Mitford's grammar, while Nancy tries to "buck up" Waugh with his health concerns. I guess I expected that at certain points there would be profound discussions about life...but it's all gossip, remembrance, allusions to sisters, non u and u speech, and massive neediness about the Colonel, Nancy's great love. Underneath all the correspondence are endless money concerns and hustling to make a buck (and thank heavens, as I love Mitford's Pompadour and Frederick the Great.) Wow...was that the Holocaust that just happened (?) the Cold War (?) nope...you won't find any of that here. Nancy gets down to the more important things, like aspic and Pammy Churchill.
I WILL get off this train....
'In the hope of keeping him quiet for a few hours Freddy & I have bet Randolph [Churchill] 20 pounds that he cannot read the whole Bible in a fortnight. It would have been worth it at the price. Unhappily it has not had the result we hoped. He has never read any of it before and is hideously excited; keeps reading quotations aloud or merely slapping his side and chortling "God, isn't God a s##t". '
What more can you say about such giant personalities? These letters can be catty, wildly funny, and rarely boring. A combined conversational autobiography.
If you enjoy any of either of these writer's work or their personality do not hesitate to buy this book at any price!