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military history

The Horror of Love: Nancy Mitford and Gaston Palewski in Paris and London

Lisa Hilton.
Publisher Pegasus  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.3 x 1 inches
ISBN 9781605983929
Pages/Publication Date 290/2011
Daedalus Item Code 33804
This item is not available.
"Oh, the horror of love!" Nancy Mitford once exclaimed to her sister Diana Mosley. Elegant and intelligent, Nancy was a renowned wit and a popular author, yet this bright, waspish woman, capable of unerring emotional analysis in her work, gave her heart to a well-known philanderer who went on to marry another woman. Was Nancy that unremarkable thing—a deluded lover—or was she instead a remarkable woman engaged in a sophisticated love affair? Gaston Palewski was the Free French commander and one of the most influential politicians in postwar Europe. Their life together, spanning 30 years, was spent among the most exciting, powerful, and controversial figures in the center of a reawakening Europe. She supported him throughout his tumultuous career and he inspired some of her best work, including The Pursuit of Love. Lisa Hilton's provocative and emotionally challenging book reveals how, with self-discipline, gentleness, mutual respect, and a great deal of finesse, Nancy and Gaston achieved a long-lasting affair of the heart. "I had to be careful not to idealize Nancy's relationship with Palewski, yet at the same time to respect and understand it on its own terms," Hinton commented in an interview for Vogue.com "A powerful influence was the Second World War: After what Nancy's generation had been through, there was a sense that magnifying one's emotional troubles was self-indulgent, and that excessive earnestness was rather bad form. That doesn't mean that Nancy didn't suffer—her letters reveal that she did, terribly—but that she made a conscious choice not to allow the inadequacies of her relationship to dominate her life. Looking over her letters to Gaston over thirty years, it's clear that they built a mutually supportive relationship, based on genuine love. Above all, they had fun. The letters almost to the end are full of chat and gossip and jokes—one has the sense that here were two people who really liked one another. And the tenderness displayed by Gaston in Nancy's last years, as well as his regrets after her death from cancer, made a very poignant coda."
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