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Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was born in London, the eldest child of the second Baron Redesdale. Her childhood in a large remote country house with her five sisters and one brother is recounted in the early chapters of The Pursuit of Love (1945), which according to the author, is largely autobiographical. Apart from being taught to ride and speak French, Nancy Mitford always claimed she never received a proper education. She started writing before her marriage in 1932 in order 'to relieve the boredom of the intervals between the recreations established by the social conventions of her world' and had written four novels, including Wigs on the Green (1935), before the success of The Pursuit of Love in 1945. After the war she moved to Paris where she lived for the rest of her life. She followed The Pursuit of Love with Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951) and Don't Tell Alfred (1960). She also wrote four works of biography: Madame de Pompadour, first published to great acclaim in 1954, Voltaire in Love, The Sun King and Frederick the Great. As well as being a novelist and a biographer she also translated Madame de Lafayette's classic novel, La Princesse de Cleves, into English, and edited Noblesse Oblige, a collection of essays concerned with the behaviour of the English aristocracy and the idea of 'U' and 'non-U'. Nancy Mitford was awarded the CBE in 1972.
One of P. D. James' favourite books. February 2011 Guest Editor Carmen Reid on Nancy Mitford... I gobbled up all of Nancy Mitford’s books when I was a young teenager. I loved them. I still re-read them every now and again and Nancy never lets you down. All human life is here, but through splendidly upper-class goggles. Dating and mating was never so posh, so gossipy and so utterly scandalous. The Pursuit of Love and Love In a Cold Climate are full of life and wit and all kinds of fascinating love affairs. For me, Fabrice was the ultimate romantic hero - a Parisian lover, who gave gifts of fur coats and silk knickers! Nancy brought unimaginable glamour and sophistication to my reading life.
August 2013 Guest Editor Catherine Alliott on Nancy Mitford... Love in a Cold Climate is such a wonderfully witty novel it opened my eyes to the possibilities of comedic writing. Despite the glamorous Radlett and Hampton families, Nancy Mitford provides us with a sensible and down to earth narrator in Fanny. Not nearly as beautiful or as wild as her exotic cousins, Fanny is far easier to identify with and the novel is an eloquent reminder that the best way to write about frivolous young things, is from the vantage point of the outsider looking in. February 2011 Guest Editor Carmen Reid on Nancy Mitford... I gobbled up all of Nancy Mitford’s books when I was a young teenager. I loved them. I still re-read them every now and again and Nancy never lets you down. All human life is here, but through splendidly upper-class goggles. Dating and mating was never so posh, so gossipy and so utterly scandalous. The Pursuit of Love and Love In a Cold Climate are full of life and wit and all kinds of fascinating love affairs. For me, Fabrice was the ultimate romantic hero - a Parisian lover, who gave gifts of fur coats and silk knickers! Nancy brought unimaginable glamour and sophistication to my reading life.
Make a loved one smile with this classic Christmas read - a perfect stocking filler 'Christmas Day was organized by Lady Bobbin with the thoroughness and attention to detail of a general leading his army into battle . . .' The formidable fox-hunter Lady Bobbin is holding a Christmas house party. Attendees include her rebellious daughter Philadelphia, a pompous suitor, a couple of children poring over newspaper death notices, and a dejected writer whose first serious novel has been declared the funniest book of the year. Add to the mix beautiful ex-courtesan Amabelle Fortescue and her guests staying in a neighbouring cottage and you have a ribald tale of true love and false fidelity, hijinks and low morals, not to mention the consumption of a considerable quantity of Christmas spirit. 'Utter, utter bliss' Daily Mail 'A dazzling comic delight' The Times 'Very funny, irresistible' Spectator
Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love is one of the funniest, sharpest novels about love and growing up ever written. 'He was the great love of her life you know.' 'Oh, dulling,' said my mother, sadly, 'One always thinks that. Every, every time.' Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and let's not even mention the mysteries of sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the hunt for the ideal lover. But finding the perfect match is much harder than any of the sisters had ever dreamed. Linda is first courted by a Tory MP and then becomes embroiled with a handsome but humourless communist, before she risks everything on a chance at real, head-over-heels love in war-torn Paris . . . 'Peerless' Zoe Heller
The Penguin Complete Novels of Nancy Mitford. Here in one volume are all eight of Nancy Mitford's sparklingly astute, hilarious and completely unputdownable novels: Highland Fling, Christmas Pudding, Wigs on the Green, Pigeon Pie, The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate, The Blessing and Don't Tell Alfred. Published over a period of 30 years, they provide a wonderful glimpse of the bright young things of the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties in the city and in the shires; firmly ensconced at home or making a go of it abroad; and what the upper classes really got up to in peace and in war. 'Entirely original, inimitable and irresistible' Spectator 'Deliciously funny' Evelyn Waugh 'Utter, utter bliss' Daily Mail
Don't Tell Alfred is the wickedly funny sequel to Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. 'I believe it would have been normal for me to have paid a visit to the outgoing ambassadress. However the said ambassadress had set up such an uninhibited wail when she knew she was to leave, proclaiming her misery to all and sundry and refusing so furiously to look on the bright side, that it was felt she might not be very nice to me.' Fanny is married to absent-minded Oxford don Alfred and content with her role as a plain, tweedy housewife. But overnight her life changes when Alfred is appointed English Ambassador to Paris. In the blink of an eye, Fanny's mixing with royalty, Rothschilds and Dior-clad wives, throwing cocktail parties and having every indiscreet remark printed in tomorrow's papers. But with the love lives of her new friends to organize, an aristocratic squatter who won't budge and the antics of her maverick sons to thwart, Fanny's far too busy to worry about the diplomatic crisis looming on the horizon. . . Don't Tell Alfred continues the histories of the characters Nancy Mitford introduced in The Pursuit of Love. 'A comic genius' Independent on Sunday 'Deliciously funny' Evelyn Waugh
The Blessing by Nancy Mitford It isn't just Nanny who finds it difficult in France when Grace and her young son Sigi are finally able to join her dashing aristocratic husband Charles-Edouard after the war. For Grace is out of her depth among the fashionably dressed and immaculately coiffured French women, and shocked by their relentless gossiping and bedhopping. When she discovers her husband's tendency to lust after every pretty girl he sees, it looks like trouble. And things get even more complicated when little Sigi steps in . . . The Blessing is a hilarious tale of love, fidelity, and the English abroad, tailored as brilliantly as a New Look Dior suit. 'Entirely original, inimitable and irresistible' Spectator 'Deliciously funny' Evelyn Waugh 'Utter, utter bliss' Daily Mail
Love in a Cold Climate is the sequel to Nancy Mitford's bestselling novel The Pursuit of Love. 'How lovely - green velvet and silver. I call that a dream, so soft and delicious, too.' She rubbed a fold of the skirt against her cheek. 'Mine's silver lame, it smells like a bird cage when it gets hot but I do love it. Aren't you thankful evening skirts are long again?' Ah, the dresses! But oh, the monotony of the Season, with its endless run of glittering balls. Even fabulously fashionable Polly Hampton - with her startling good looks and excellent social connections - is beginning to wilt under the glare. Groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, fearsome Lady Montdore, Polly instead scandalises society by declaring her love for her uncle 'Boy' Dougdale, the Lecherous Lecturer, and promptly eloping to France. But the consequences of this union no one could quite expect . . . Love in a Cold Climate is the wickedly funny follow-up to The Pursuit of Love. 'Entirely original, inimitable and irresistible' Philip Hensher, Spectator
Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford is a hilarious satire of the upper classes. Eugenia Malmains is one of the richest girls in England and an ardent supporter of Captain Jack and the Union Jackshirts; Noel and Jasper are both in search of an heiress (so much easier than trying to work for the money); Poppy and Marjorie are nursing lovelorn hearts; and the beautiful bourgeois Mrs Lace is on the prowl for someone near Eugenia's fabulous country home at Chalford, and much farce ensues. One of Nancy Mitford's earliest novels, Wigs on the Green has been out of print for nearly seventy-five years. Nancy's sisters Unity and Diana were furious with her for making fun of Diana's husband, Oswald Moseley, and his politics, and the book caused a rift between them all that endured for years. Nancy Mitford skewers her family and their beliefs with her customary jewelled barbs, but there is froth, comedy and heart here too. 'Deliciously funny' Evelyn Waugh
Nancy Mitfords schonster Roman, mit dem sie ein paar unvergessliche Prototypen der britischen Upper-Class schuf: Allen voran den exzentrischen Onkel Matthew, dessen reales Vorbild niemand anderes als Nancys eigener Vater war. Im Mittelpunkt der Geschichte steht jedoch die junge, unkonventionelle Linda Radlett, die in politisch bewegter Zeit von Liebe und Abenteuer, kurz: dem wahren Leben traumt - jenseits von Fuchstreibjagden und Five-O'Clock-Tea.
Chalford, eine idyllische Kleinstadt in den dreiiger Jahren. Eugenia, hoffnungsvolle Erbin des Malmain-Anwesens, macht ihrer Gromutter Kummer. Seit sie ihren treuen Begleiter "e;Reichshund"e; ruft, auf Waschzubern vor gelangweilten Hausfrauen faschistische Parolen skandiert und ihre Freunde mit erhobenem Arm begrut, furchtet die Gromutter um den Frieden in ihrem Haus. Erst als zwei junge Manner mit ausgezeichneten Manieren auftauchen, schopft sie Hoffnung. Oder sind Jasper und Noel nur auf eine Mitgift aus?