Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford

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Nancy Mitford died in 1973 before she could write an autobiography. But she was one of the great letter writers of this century, and her sparkling correspondence to her famous family and to a wide circle of brilliant friends - Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, Robert Byron, Cyril Connolly, and Raymond Mortimer, among many others - sheds an extraordinary light on their lives and the times in which they lived. Novelist, biographer, and journalist, Nancy was born in 1904 into a family that seemed always to he in Britain's...
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Overview

Nancy Mitford died in 1973 before she could write an autobiography. But she was one of the great letter writers of this century, and her sparkling correspondence to her famous family and to a wide circle of brilliant friends - Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, Robert Byron, Cyril Connolly, and Raymond Mortimer, among many others - sheds an extraordinary light on their lives and the times in which they lived. Novelist, biographer, and journalist, Nancy was born in 1904 into a family that seemed always to he in Britain's headlines - and not only on the society pages. The eldest of Lord and Lady Redesdale's seven talented children (writer Jessica Mitford among them), Nancy immortalized their family life in her first bestseller, The Pursuit of Love. Her natural wit, fed by the frivolous 1920s, was undimmed by her political coming of age in the 1930s, or the courage and stoicism of wartime London. At war's end she moved to Paris, and her home there became "a congenial rendezvous of French and English letters," in the words of her friend Harold Acton. From this perch, Nancy wrote her daily correspondence, delighting in her adopted country and skewering pretension wherever she found it. Wildly funny and filled with outrageous gossip, Mitford's letters detail not only the foolishness and foibles of London and Parisian society, but also the more tragic story of an unhappy marriage and her often anguished affair with "the Colonel," a leading member of de Gaulle's government. Love from Nancy is the first published collection of Nancy's correspondence. It draws on eight thousand letters spanning six decades, many dashed off with hardly a crossed-out word, all so full of verve that the writer seems to be at one's elbow. It includes an important selection of letters to Evelyn Waugh, her close friend and literary mentor. Whether asking Waugh what Roman Catholics believe awaits them in heaven or soliciting Field Marshal Montgomery's opinion of the latest Paris fashions, these letter
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mitford's correspondences are as urbane and witty as her books--which is saying quite a lot, since The Pursuit of Love was not only a bestseller but generally considered one of the most enjoyable novels published in Britain during the 1940s, and her series of French biographies in the 1950s and '60s ( Madame de Pompadour , etc.) proved that scholarship could also be vastly entertaining. Born in 1904, she was the eldest of the six aristocratic and controversial Mitford sisters: Diana married British fascist Oswald Mosley, Jessica espoused communism and Unity, a friend of Hitler, attempted suicide when England declared war on Germany (Pamela and Deborah led more conventional lives). Through all the political storms that shook her family, Nancy remained elegant, amusing and completely free of self-pity, even as she lay dying from an agonizing form of cancer in 1973. Her letters to such famous friends as Evelyn Waugh chronicle a life filled with enthusiastic socializing, shopping and eating, yet also disciplined and productive. (She wrote more than a dozen books, as well as many articles and translations of literature from France, her beloved adopted home from the late 1940s until her death.) Mosley, who is married to Mitford's nephew, has done a splendid editing job, preserving Nancy's idiosyncratic punctuation and selecting individual letters so that there is very little repetition of material. A delicious treat for Mitford fans, this captivating volume also makes a marvelous introduction to her engaging writing style. Photos. (Dec.)
Library Journal
The eldest of the beautiful and brainy Mitford sisters, Nancy Mitford, who died in 1973, has long been eclipsed by the political activities of her sisters Diana and Unity and the social criticism of Jessica. But the mordant wit that enlivened Mitford's novels and reporting sparkles in this first collection of her vivid letters, painstakingly edited by her niece-in-law Mosley from over 8000 surviving pieces. Mitford knew everyone in the British and French upper crust, as well as most of the major and minor artistic figures of the postwar era, and she wrote to all of them--and about them. Mosley's notes pare away slang, nicknames, and in-jokes to reveal Mitford's only surviving autobiography, the witty, gossipy, and uniquely English view of her world and its inhabitants--Evelyn Waugh, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Mitford's own family. For collections with a British interest. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/93.-- Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Margaret Flanagan
Mosley has assembled a delightful collection of letters written by British novelist and biographer Nancy Mitford over the course of six eventful decades. Born into an eccentric aristocratic family in 1904, Mitford effortlessly evoked the giddiness of the 1920s, the drama of wartime London, and the social brilliance of postwar Paris in her voluminous correspondence. An inveterate letter writer, she sent frequent missives to a wide circle of literary and artistic friends, including Evelyn Waugh, Robert Byron, and Harold Acton. Renowned for her charm and wit, Mitford liberally peppered her hilarious epistles with humorous observations and snippets of titillating gossip. An equally amazing and amusing literary chronicle.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395570418
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Pages: 538

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