In this delightful sequel to Memoirs of an Aesthete Harold Acton continues where he left off in 1939. Packed with recollections of the famous personalities he knew such as the Sitwells, Norman Douglas, Bernard Berenson, Gertrude Stein and Evelyn Waugh, this book brilliantly evokes a society that now seems remote.
N this classic memoir Harold Acton offers a witty and vivid account of the first thirty-five years of his life (1904-39): from a boyhood among the dilettanti in Florence before the First World War, through his friendships with some of the great writers of his generation in Oxford and Paris, to his discovery of a spiritual home in Peking.
Containing more than 600 entries, this valuable resource presents all aspects of travel writing. There are entries on places and routes (Afghanistan, Black Sea, Egypt, Gobi Desert, Hawaii, Himalayas, Italy, Northwest Passage, Samarkand, Silk Route, Timbuktu), writers (Isabella Bird, Ibn Battuta, Bruce Chatwin, Gustave Flaubert, Mary Kingsley, Walter Ralegh, Wilfrid Thesiger), methods of transport and types of journey (balloon, camel, grand tour, hunting and big game expeditions, pilgrimage, space travel and exploration), genres (buccaneer narratives, guidebooks, New World chronicles, postcards), companies and societies (East India Company, Royal Geographical Society, Society of Dilettanti), and issues and themes (censorship, exile, orientalism, and tourism). For a full list of entries and contributors, a generous selection of sample entries, and more, visit the Literature of Travel and Exploration: An Encyclopedia website.
This beautiful, heavily illustrated volume reveals the beauty and history of one of the great Florentine villas and of the extraordinary Anglo-American family, the Actons, who in the 20th century restored it to its former glory.
From Hank Aaron to King Zog, Mao Tse-Tung to Madonna, Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes features more than 2,000 people from around the world, past and present, in all fields. These short anecdotes provide remarkable insight into the human character. Ranging from the humorous to the tearful, they span classical history, recent politics, modern science and the arts. Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes is a gold mine for anyone who gives speeches, is doing research, or simply likes to browse. As an informal tour of history and human nature at its most entertaining & instructive, this is sure to be a perennial favorite for years to come.
"Quite simply one of the best books of the year." —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Ben Downing's Queen Bee of Tuscany brings an extraordinary Victorian back to life. Born into a distinguished intellectual family and raised among luminaries such as Dickens and Thackeray, Janet Ross married at eighteen and went to live in Egypt. There, for the next six years, she wrote for the London Times, hobnobbed with the developer of the Suez Canal, and humiliated pashas in horse races. In 1867 she moved to Florence, Italy where she spent the remaining sixty years of her life writing a series of books and hosting a colorful miscellany of friends and neighbors, from Mark Twain to Bernard Berenson, at Poggio Gherardo, her house in the hills above the city. Eventually she became the acknowledged doyenne of the Anglo-Florentine colony, as it was known. Yet she was also immersed in the rural life of Tuscany: An avid agriculturalist, she closely supervised the farms on her estate and the sharecroppers who worked them, often pitching in on grape and olive harvests. Spirited, erudite, and supremely well-connected, Ross was one of the most dynamic women of her day. Her life offers a fascinating window on fascinating times, from the Risorgimento to the rise of fascism. Encompassing all this rich history, Queen Bee of Tuscany is a panoramic portrait of an age, a family, and our evolving love affair with Tuscany. A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2013
In Chanel: An Intimate Life, acclaimed biographer Lisa Chaney tells the controversial story of the fashion icon who starred in her tumultuous era Coco Chanel was many things to many people. Raised in emotional and financial poverty, she became one of the defining figures of the twentieth century. She was mistress to aristocrats, artists and spies. She broke rules of style and decorum, seducing both men and women, yet in her work expected the highest standards. She took a 'plaything' and turned it into a global industry which defined the modern woman. Filled with new insights and thrilling discoveries, Lisa Chaney's Chanel provides the most defining and provocative portrait yet. 'Chaney's research is laudable, uncovering fresh details of Chanel's well-trodden rag trade to riches story' Evening Standard 'An unflinching examination of the historically inscrutable designer' Vogue Lisa Chaney has lectured and tutored in the history of art and literature, made TV and radio broadcasts on the history of culture, and reviewed and written for journals and newspapers, including The SundayTimes, the Spectator and the Guardian. She is the author of two previous biographies: Elizabeth David and Hide-and-Seek With Angels: The Life of J.M. Barrie.
Here lies Lord Berners/One of life's learners, Thanks be to the Lord/He was never bored. So reads the epitaph on the gravestone of Lord Berners. In its witty way, it hints at his range of accomplishment. He was a composer (admired by Stravinsky), writer, painter, aesthete and eccentric, indeed in Mark Amory's words 'The Last Eccentric', famously dyeing the pigeons at his house, Faringdon, in vibrant colours, and, for a time, having a giraffe as a pet and tea companion. His literary and artistic milieu was glittering: Stravinsky, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Siegfried Sassoon, John Betjeman, the Sitwells, Harold Nicolson, Frederick Ashton and Gertrude Stein - they all belonged to it. In fiction, he was famously portrayed as Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love. 'As social history and a chronicle of a mad-cap English eccentric this long awaited, much needed and beautifully written book is, to use a simple clich, indispensable.' Alexander Waugh, Literary Review 'In Amory, this engaging character has found the ideal biographer. Getting the exact measure of its subject throughout, written in a dry, wittily ironic prose ... the biography offers of sheer bliss.' Gilbert Adair, Sunday Times
Alice Keppel, the married lover of Queen Victoria's eldest son and great-grandmother to Camilla Parker-Bowles, was a key figure in Edwardian society. Hers was the acceptable face of adultery. Discretion was her hallmark. It was her art to be the king's mistress and yet to laud the Royal Family and the institution of marriage. Formidable and manipulative, her attentions to the king brought her wealth, power, and status. Her daughter Violet Trefusis had a long tempestuous affair with the author and aristocrat Vita Sackville-West, during which Vita left her husband and two sons to travel abroad with Violet. It was a liaison that threatened the fabric of Violet's social world, and her passion and recalcitrance in pursuit of it pitted her against her mother and society. From memoirs, diaries, and letters, Diana Souhami portrays this fascinating and intense mother/daughter relationship in Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter. Her story of these women, their lovers, and their lovers' mothers, highlights Edwardian - and contemporary - duplicity and double standards and goes to the heart of questions about sexual freedoms.
A riveting biography that vividly captures the life and times of the last Victorian king. To his mother, Queen Victoria, he was "poor Bertie," to his wife he was "my dear little man," while the President of France called him "a great English king," and the German Kaiser condemned him as "an old peacock." King Edward VII was all these things and more, as Hibbert reveals in this captivating biography. Shedding new light on the scandals that peppered his life, Hibbert reveals Edward's dismal early years under Victoria's iron rule, his terror of boredom that led to a lively social life at home and abroad, and his eventual ascent to the throne at age 59. Edward is best remembered as the last Victorian king, the monarch who installed the office of Prime Minister.