LOVE FROM NANCY by Charlotte Mosley


The Letters of Nancy Mitford
edited by
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 The first collection of Nancy Mitford's letters--which, like those of her British literary contemporaries (Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, Cyril Connolly, et. al), reflect a wit and style that never quite mask an underlying anguish at a world changed too much. Born in 1904 and dying in Paris in 1973, Mitford was a diligent correspondent who left behind more than a thousand letters. This collection (edited by her niece), spanning more than 60 years and a hundred correspondents, includes not only letters that provide an epistolary history of Mitford's life but also those that illuminate her relationship with her famous peers and equally famous--or, as often, notorious--sisters: Jessica, author of The American Way of Death; Unity, admirer of Hitler; and Diana, wife of British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley. Like her friend Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time, Mitford's letters are written to or about that brilliant between-the-wars-generation that connected and reconnected in the company of interesting people in stylish milieus like the British embassy in Paris; Chatsworth, the ducal home of Mitford's youngest sister; and the Guinness's Irish castle. Many names here will be unfamiliar--and the need to consult footnotes is an irritant--but what makes the reading worthwhile are letters like the one in which Mitford relates Evelyn Waugh's answer when asked how he reconciled being so horrible with being a Christian. ``He replied rather sadly that were he not a Christian he would be even more horrible.'' Mitford writes with great wit and plucky panache- -making the best of an often unhappy personal life--about her writing, her friends, and contemporary events: the bombing raids in wartime London, Dior's ``New Look,'' the 1968 riots in Paris, etc. A welcome addition to literary history that poignantly recalls the glittering youth and not-so-bright decline and fall of all those ``bright young things'' whom Mitford and Waugh wrote about so well elsewhere. (Photographs)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-57041-7
Page count: 544pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993