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Nancy Mitford

About This Author
Nancy Mitford, daughter of Lord and Lady Redesdale and the eldest of the six legendary Mitford sisters, was born in 1904 and educated at home on the family estate in Oxfordshire. She made her debut in London and soon became one of the bright young things of the 1920s, a close friend of Henry Green, Evelyn Waugh, John Betjeman, and their circle. A beauty and a wit, she began writing for magazines and writing novels while she was still in her twenties. In all, she wrote eight novels as well as biographies of Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire, Louis XIV, and Frederick the Great. She died in 1973. More information can be found at www.nancymitford.com.
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Nancy Mitford, daughter of Lord and Lady Redesdale and the eldest of the six legendary Mitford sisters, was born in 1904 and educated at home on the family estate in Oxfordshire. She made her debut in London and soon became one of the bright young things of the 1920s, a close friend of Henry Green, Evelyn Waugh, John Betjeman, and their circle. A beauty and a wit, she began writing for magazines and writing novels while she was still in her twenties. In all, she wrote eight novels as well as biographies of Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire, Louis XIV, and Frederick the Great. She died in 1973. More information can be found at www.nancymitford.com.
Books by thisAuthor
  • Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie

    Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie
    Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie are two sparkling comedies from early in the career of Nancy Mitford, beloved author of The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, here published in one volume with a new introduction by Jane Smiley.   In Christmas Pudding, an array of colorful characters converge on the hunt-obsessed Lady Bobbin’s country house, including her rebellious daughter Philadelphia, the girl’s pompous suitor, a couple of children obsessed with newspaper death notices, and an aspiring writer whose serious first novel has been acclaimed as the funniest book of the year, to his utter dismay. In Pigeon Pie, set at the outbreak of World War II, Lady Sophia Garfield dreams of becoming a beautiful spy but manages not to notice a nest of German agents right under her nose, until the murder of her maid and kidnapping of her beloved bulldog force them on her attention, with heroic results. Delivered with a touch lighter than that of Mitford’s later masterpieces but no less entertaining, these comedies combine glamour, wit, and fiendishly absurd plots into irresistible literary confections.

    Highland Fling

    Highland Fling
    In Highland Fling—Nancy Mitford’s first novel, published in 1931—a set of completely incompatible and hilariously eccentric characters collide in a Scottish castle, where bright young things play pranks on their stodgy elders until the frothy plot climaxes in ghost sightings and a dramatic fire. Inspired in part by Mitford’s youthful infatuation with a Scottish aristocrat, her story follows young Jane Dacre to a shooting party at Dulloch Castle, where she tramps around a damp and chilly moor on a hunting expedition with formidable Lady Prague, xenophobic General Murgatroyd, one-eyed Admiral Wenceslaus, and an assortment of other ancient and gouty peers of the realm, while falling in love with Albert, a surrealist painter with a mischievous sense of humor. Lighthearted and sparkling with witty banter, Highland Fling was Mitford’s first foray into the delightful fictional world for which the author of The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate later became so celebrated. With an Introduction by Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey.

    Frederick the Great

    Frederick the Great
    The Prussian king Frederick II is today best remembered for successfully defending his tiny country against the three great European powers of France, Austria, and Russia during the Seven Years’ War. But in his youth, tormented by a spectacularly cruel and dyspeptic father, the future military genius was drawn to the flute and French poetry, and throughout his long life counted nothing more important than the company of good friends and great wits. This was especially evident in his longstanding, loving, and vexing relationship with Voltaire. An absolute ruler who was allergic to pomp, a non-hunter who wore no spurs, a reformer of great zeal who maintained complete freedom of the press and religion and cleaned up his country’s courts, a fiscal conservative and patron of the arts, the builder of the rococo palace Sans Souci and improver of the farmers’ lot, maddening to his rivals but beloved by nearly everyone he met, Frederick was—notwithstanding a penchant for merciless teasing—arguably the most humane of enlightened despots. In Frederick the Great, a richly entertaining biography of one of the eighteenth century’s most fascinating figures, the trademark wit of the author of Love in a Cold Climate finds its ideal subject.

    The Sun King

    The Sun King
    The Sun King is a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, the opulent court from which he ruled. With characteristic élan, Nancy Mitford reconstructs the daily life of king and courtiers during France’s golden age, offering vivid sketches of the architects, artists, and gardeners responsible for the creation of the most magnificent palace Europe had yet seen. Mitford lays bare the complex and deadly intrigues in the stateroom and the no less high-stakes power struggles in the bedroom. At the center of it all is Louis XIV himself, the demanding, mercurial, but remarkably resilient sovereign who guided France through nearly three quarters of the Grand Siècle. Brimming with sumptuous detail and delicious bons mots, and written in a witty, conversational style, The Sun King restores a distant glittering century to vibrant life.

  • Madame de Pompadour

    Madame de Pompadour
    When Madame de Pompadour became the mistress of Louis XV, no one expected her to retain his affections for long. A member of the bourgeoisie rather than an aristocrat, she was physically too cold for the carnal Bourbon king, and had so many enemies that she could not travel publicly without risking a pelting of mud and stones. History has loved her little better. Nancy Mitford’s delightfully candid biography re-creates the spirit of eighteenth-century Versailles with its love of pleasure and treachery. We learn that the Queen was a “bore,” the Dauphin a “prig,” and see France increasingly overcome with class conflict. With a fiction writer’s felicity, Mitford restores the royal mistress and celebrates her as a survivor, unsurpassed in “the art of living,” who reigned as the most powerful woman in France for nearly twenty years.

    Voltaire in Love

    Voltaire in Love
    The inimitable Nancy Mitford’s account of Voltaire’s fifteen-year relationship with the Marquise du Châtelet—the renowned mathematician who introduced Isaac Newton’s revolutionary new physics to France—is a spirited romp in the company of two extraordinary individuals as well as an erudite and gossipy guide to French high society during the Enlightenment. Mitford’s story is as delicious as it is complicated. The marquise was in love with another mathematician, Maupertuis, while she had an unexpected rival for Voltaire’s affections in the future Frederick the Great of Prussia (and later in the philosophe’s own niece). There was, at least, no jealous husband to contend with: the Marquis du Châtelet, Mitford assures us, behaved perfectly. The beau monde of Paris was, however, distraught at the idea of the lovers’ brilliant conversation going to waste on the windswept hills of Champagne, site of the Château de Cirey, where experimental laboratories, a darkroom, and a library of more than twenty-one thousand volumes enabled them to pursue their amours philosophiques. From time to time the threat of impending arrest would send Voltaire scurrying across the border into Holland, but his irrepressible charm—and the interventions of powerful friends—always made it possible for him resume his studies with the cherished marquise.

    The Pursuit of Love

    The Pursuit of Love
    Nancy Mitford’s most enduringly popular novel, The Pursuit of Love is a classic comedy about growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric. Mitford modeled her characters on her own famously unconventional family. We are introduced to the Radletts through the eyes of their cousin Fanny, who stays with them at Alconleigh, their Gloucestershire estate. Uncle Matthew is the blustering patriarch, known to hunt his children when foxes are scarce; Aunt Sadie is the vague but doting mother; and the seven Radlett children, despite the delights of their unusual childhood, are recklessly eager to grow up. The first of three novels featuring these characters, The Pursuit of Love follows the travails of Linda, the most beautiful and wayward Radlett daughter, who falls first for a stuffy Tory politician, then an ardent Communist, and finally a French duke named Fabrice.

    Wigs on the Green

    Wigs on the Green
    Nancy Mitford’s most controversial novel, unavailable for decades, is a hilarious satirical send-up of the political enthusiasms of her notorious sisters, Unity and Diana. Written in 1934, early in Hitler’s rise, Wigs on the Green lightheartedly skewers the devoted followers of British fascism. The sheltered and unworldy Eugenia Malmain is one of the richest girls in England and an ardent supporter of General Jack and his Union Jackshirts. World-weary Noel Foster and his scheming friend Jasper Aspect are in search of wealthy heiresses to marry; Lady Marjorie, disguised as a commoner, is on the run from the Duke she has just jilted at the altar; and her friend Poppy is considering whether to divorce her rich husband. When these characters converge with the colorful locals at a grandly misconceived costume pageant that turns into a brawl between Pacifists and Jackshirts, madcap farce ensues. Long suppressed by the author out of sensitivity to family feelings, Wigs on the Green can now be enjoyed by fans of Mitford’s superbly comic novels.

  • The Blessing

    The Blessing
    The Blessing is one of Nancy Mitford’s most personal books, a wickedly funny story that asks whether love can survive the clash of cultures. When Grace Allingham, a naïve young Englishwoman, goes to live in France with her dashingly aristocratic husband Charles-Edouard, she finds herself overwhelmed by the bewilderingly foreign cuisine and the shockingly decadent manners and mores of the French. But it is the discovery of her husband’s French notion of marriage—which includes a permanent mistress and a string of casual affairs—that sends Grace packing back to London with their “blessing,” young Sigismond, in tow. While others urge the couple to reconcile, little Sigi—convinced that it will improve his chances of being spoiled—applies all his juvenile cunning to keeping his parents apart. Drawing on her own years in Paris and her long affair with a Frenchman, Mitford elevates cultural and romantic misunderstandings to the heights of comedy.

    Love in a Cold Climate

    Love in a Cold Climate
    One of Nancy Mitford’s most beloved novels, Love in a Cold Climate is a sparkling romantic comedy that vividly evokes the lost glamour of aristocratic life in England between the wars. Polly Hampton has long been groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, the fearsome and ambitious Lady Montdore. But Polly, with her stunning good looks and impeccable connections, is bored by the monotony of her glittering debut season in London. Having just come from India, where her father served as Viceroy, she claims to have hoped that society in a colder climate would be less obsessed with love affairs. The apparently aloof and indifferent Polly has a long-held secret, however, one that leads to the shattering of her mother’s dreams and her own disinheritance. When an elderly duke begins pursuing the disgraced Polly and a callow potential heir curries favor with her parents, nothing goes as expected, but in the end all find happiness in their own unconventional ways.

    Don't Tell Alfred

    Don't Tell Alfred
      In this delightful comedy, Fanny—the quietly observant narrator of Nancy Mitford’s two most famous novels—finally takes center stage. Fanny Wincham—last seen as a young woman in The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate—has lived contentedly for years as housewife to an absent-minded Oxford don, Alfred. But her life changes overnight when her beloved Alfred is appointed English Ambassador to Paris. Soon she finds herself mixing with royalty and Rothschilds while battling her hysterical predecessor, Lady Leone, who refuses to leave the premises. When Fanny’s tender-hearted secretary begins filling the embassy with rescued animals and her teenage sons run away from Eton and show up with a rock star in tow, things get entirely out of hand. Gleefully sending up the antics of mid-century high society, Don’t Tell Alfred is classic Mitford.

    The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street

    The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street
    Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill...
    Nancy Mitford was a brilliant personality, a remarkable novelist and a legendary letter writer. It is not widely known that she was also a bookseller. From 1942 to 1946 she worked in Heywood Hill's famous shop in Curzon Street, and effectively ran it when the male staff were called up for war service. After the war she left to live in France, but she maintained an abiding interest in the shop, its stock, and the many and varied customers who themselves form a cavalcade of the literary stars of post-war Britain. Her letters to Heywood Hill advise on recent French titles that might appeal to him and his customers, gossip engagingly about life in Paris, and enquire anxiously about the reception of her own books, while seeking advice about new titles to read. In return Heywood kept her up to date with customers and their foibles, and with aspects of literary and bookish life in London. Charming, witty, utterly irresistible, the correspondence gives brilliant insights into a world that has almost disappeared.

  • The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate

    The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate
    Two Novels
    Few aristocratic English families of the twentieth century enjoyed the glamorous notoriety of the infamous Mitford sisters. Nancy Mitford's most famous novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, satirize British aristocracy in the twenties and thirties through the amorous adventures of the Radletts, an exuberantly unconventional family closely modelled on Mitford's own. The Radletts of Alconleigh occupy the heights of genteel eccentricity, from terrifying Lord Alconleigh (who, like Mitford's father, used to hunt his children with bloodhounds when foxes were not available), to his gentle wife, Sadie, their wayward daughter Linda, and the other six lively Radlett children. Mitford's wickedly funny prose follows these characters through misguided marriages and dramatic love affairs, as the shadow of World War II begins to close in on their rapidly vanishing world.

    Christmas Pudding

    Christmas Pudding

    The Little Hut

    The Little Hut
    Manuscript Edition

    Trifulca a la vista

    Trifulca a la vista
    Satirizing the devoted followers of British fascism, this novel tells the story of a series of characters hailing from diverse backgrounds, and what happens when they meet in an out-of-the-way little British town. Sheltered Eugenia Malmains, one of the richest girls in England, is a loyal supporter of General Jack and his Union Jackshirts. Cosmopolitan Noel Foster and his intriguing friend Jasper Aspect search for rich heiresses to marry. And Lady Marjorie, accompanied by her friend Poppy, has run away from the mess that ensued after she called off her wedding. When they all join the locals of a small town in a theatrical representation between Pacifists and Jackshirts, tensions come to a boiling point.   Satirizando a los devotos seguidores del fascismo británico, esta novela narra la historia de una serie de personajes diversos orígenes, y lo que sucede cuando se encuentran en un recóndito pueblito inglés. La mimada Eugenia Malmains, una de las muchachas más ricas de Inglaterra, es una fiel seguidora del capitán Jack y sus camisas tricolores. El cosmopolita Noel Foster y su intrigante amigo Jasper Aspect van a la caza de una rica heredera. Y Lady Marjorie, acompañada de su amiga Poppy, ha huido del revuelo provocado por haber cancelado su boda. Cuando todos ellos se unen a las personas locales de un pequeño pueblo para llevar a cabo una representación teatral entre los fascistas y pacifistas, las tensiones explotan.

  • Amor en clima frio

    Amor en clima frio
    Rescuing characters and situations from The Pursuit of Love, this novel is set in a luxurious mansion in the Hamptons that is home to Lord and Lady Montdore. Lady Montdore, a brilliant aristocratic figure of her time, is dedicated to arranging the best possible marriage for her only daughter Polly, but her efforts keep encountering her daughter’s apparent disinterest. But soon Polly’s prominent social status as one of the richest and most beautiful young ladies of her generation is brought into question by a love affair that will shake her whole family to its core.   Recuperando personajes y situaciones de A la caza del amor, esta novela traslada la acción a la espléndida mansión de los Hampton que sirve de hogar a Lord y Lady Montdore. Lady Montdore, brillante figura de la aristocracia de su época, está empeñada en arreglar el mejor matrimonio para su hija única Polly, pero sus maniobras acabarán estrellándose una y otra vez contra el aparente desinterés de su hija. Pero la prominente situación social de Polly, una de las jóvenes más bellas y ricas de su generación, pronto se verá cuestionada por un sonado affaire sentimental que convulsionará a toda su familia.

    No se lo digas a Alfred

    No se lo digas a Alfred
    When Alfred becomes an ambassador in Paris, his wife Fanny will be put in charge of managing the embassy’s day-to-day. Suddenly she’ll find herself rubbing shoulders with the Parisian aristocracy, hosting cocktails and dinners, and bewildered by the way in which the most menial details of her life make their way into the papers. On top of it all, she will have to mediate emotional situations among her friends and guide her indomitable sons, whose modern lifestyles she just can’t seem to understand. Furthermore, it seems as though a diplomatic crisis is about to erupt, making it clear that life in an embassy is anything but boring.   Cuando Alfred es nombrado embajador en París, su esposa Fanny se convertirá en la encargada de manejar los asuntos cotidianos de la embajada. De repente se verá alternando con la aristocracia y lo más granado de la sociedad parisina, dando cócteles y cenas, y contemplando asombrada cómo cada nimio detalle de su vida es aireado en los periódicos. Por si fuera poco, tendrá que mediar en los asuntos sentimentales de sus amigos y encauzar a sus indómitos hijos, cuyos modernos estilos de vida no termina de comprender. Además, parece que una crisis diplomática está a punto de estallar, dejando claro que la vida en una embajada es todo excepto aburrida.

    A la caza del amor

    A la caza del amor
    In her most successful novel, Nancy Mitford uses real-life elements from her extravagant and famous family in order to weave her story. We become acquainted with the different members of the Radlett family: the ill-tempered father Uncle Matthew, the absent and devout mother Sadie, and the seven children who, along with their cousin Fanny, make up a bizarre and entertaining family. But the real focus of this story is young Linda Radlett and her incessant quest for love. Throughout these pages we witness her conquests and meet the men in whom she believes to have found true love. This work showcases the author’s famous satirical genius and her extraordinary ability to reconstruct the environment, lifestyle, and people of the British aristocracy. This is a smart and entertaining book that, in addition to being a vibrant and biting novel, is also a true slice of life.   En su novela de mayor éxito Nancy Mitford utiliza elementos reales de su extravagante y famosa familia para construir su relato. Ante nuestros ojos van desfilando los distintos miembros de la familia Radlett: el malhumorado padre Tío Matthew, la ausente y devota madre Sadie, y los siete hijos que junto a su prima Fanny forman una estrafalaria y divertidísima familia. Pero el auténtico centro de esta historia es la joven Linda Radlett y su constante búsqueda del amor. A través de estas páginas la acompañaremos en sus azarosas conquistas y conoceremos a los distintos hombres en los que creyó encontrar el amor. El texto despliega el famoso ingenio satírico y la extraordinaria capacidad de la autora para reconstruir el ambiente, la vida y las personas en los círculos aristocráticos ingleses. Éste es un libro inteligente y divertido, que, además de ser una novela vibrante y mordaz, es también un verdadero trozo de vida.

    La bendicion

    La bendicion
    When Grace, along with her son Sigi, finally reunites with her husband Charles-Edouard and moves to France after being separated by the warm she loses ground when faced with exceedingly elegant French women, and is surprised by a world full of gossip, loves, and complicated affairs. But the surprises don’t end there, for she will later discover that her husband has the tendency of pursuing every attractive woman that crosses his path. All of this makes her think that her marriage is about to be over and that surely the time has come to return to England. But that is when the blessing, Sigi, will take matters into his own hands. With her characteristic ability for satire, Nancy Mitford admirably reconstructs the environment, life, and people of the aristocratic circles of Paris and London. Beyond sophisticated characters, entertaining intrigue, and the exciting pace of biting conversations, this work evokes a world already long gone.   Cuando Grace, junto a su hijo Sigi, consigue reunirse con su marido Charles-Edouard e instalarse en Francia tras la separación provocada por la guerra, pierde pie ante las elegantísimas mujeres francesas, y se ve sorprendida por un mundo de cotilleos, amantes y complicados affairs. Pero las sorpresas no acabarán ahí, pues más tarde descubrirá que su marido tiene la tendencia de perseguir a cuanta mujer atractiva que se cruce en su camino. Todo le hace pensar que su matrimonio está a punto de terminar y que seguramente sea el momento de volver a Inglaterra. Pero será entonces cuando la bendición, el pequeño Sigi, tome cartas en el asunto. Con su característica capacidad para la sátira, Nancy Mitford reconstruye admirablemente el ambiente, la vida y las personas de los círculos aristocráticos de París y Londres. Más allá de sofisticados personajes, divertidas intrigas y el ritmo trepidante de unos diálogos mordaces, esta obra es la evocación de un mundo ya desaparecido.

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