Friday, March 25, 2016


scattered intractables

As I prepare to begin reading the diaries of James Lees-Milne, I find his name cropping up in other books hither and yon.  For instance, I've been browsing again in the writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor, and many of the other books on my shelves of memoirs/biographies/autobiographies contain references to him and his wide literary circle of friends.  I am eagerly awaiting the publication of Leigh Fermor's collected letters this fall, entitled Dashing for the Post (many thanks to Antony for the heads-up), especially after reading and re-reading his marvelous letters to Deborah Devonshire and hers to him, In Tearing Haste (nyrb 2010).  Lees-Milne is mentioned here and there throughout the latter.  So I am hoping to read the Lees-Milne diaries and find that he has reciprocated.

Meanwhile, online, I've also been browsing around various sites devoted to Leigh Fermor, and want to make a note about one item in particular:  a transcript of a talk recently given about him, by John Julius Norwich, to members of the Patrick Leigh Fermor Society.  The talk is a fascinating long reminiscence, and makes one fairly pine, not to have known any of these fascinating people, except of course on the page.  But the main reason I bring it up at all is simply that I read something in that talk that I don't want to forget, and instead of writing it in my diary I'm copying it here instead.   It mentions that Leigh Fermor's biographer Artemis Cooper made a list of his personal files.

Their titles:
Lovely!  I have to admit, though, that I haven't read her biography.  Yet.  I suppose I'm a little afraid to discover his failings.  He's been a literary hero of mine for so long, and I'm hoping he wasn't too much of a cad in real life!  Perhaps I'll bite the bullet this fall.  Since, if all goes as planned, I could be finishing up the Lees-Milne diaries just as the Leigh Fermor letters are coming into print in October (at least, the U.K. edition; I hope the U.S. edition won't be far behind).  I could read the biography, and then immediately read the letters, to rekindle any doused admiration.  Timing may depend on how rainy this summer is, or not.  I mean, little is happening in my painting studio at the moment (not for want of trying) and I am dying to paint outside once again.  If the weather is fine and painting is happening, everything else tends to fall by the wayside for months at a time, books especially.  Well, much to look forward to, either way.          

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?