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What a Lot of Parties

Christopher Hitchens: Diana Mosley, 30 September 1999

Diana MosleyA Biography 
by Jan Dalley.
Faber, 297 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 571 14448 9
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... came across a notice of Hans-Otto Meissner’s biography of Magda Goebbels. The reviewer was Diana Mosley. Fair enough, I thought, she had at least known the woman. Indeed, as she put it herself: ‘I knew Magda and Dr Goebbels quite well. She was charming and beautiful, he was clever and witty.’ Eschewing bleeding-heart compassion, yet ...

Nit, Sick and Bore

India Knight: The Mitfords, 3 January 2002

The Mitford Girls: The Biography of an Extraordinary Family 
by Mary Lovell.
Little, Brown, 611 pp., £20, September 2001, 0 316 85868 4
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Nancy Mitford: A Memoir 
by Harold Acton.
Gibson Square, 256 pp., £16.99, September 2001, 1 903933 01 3
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... Mitford – galumph, galumph – who, unlike her five sisters (in descending order: Nancy, Pam, Diana, Unity, Decca, Debo; there was also a brother, Tom), had little talent for levity. So the jokes are crucial. One occasionally gets the impression, from Mary Lovell’s compelling, fluent and problematically sucker-uppy biography, that she isn’t always ...

Merry Wife of Windsor

Patricia Beer, 16 October 1980

The Duchess of Windsor 
by Diana Mosley.
Sidgwick, 219 pp., £8.95, June 1980, 9780283986284
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... whereas Ernest Simpson just called him Peter Pan.) In contributing The Duchess of Windsor, Diana Mosley has set herself a harder task than most. Her aims are good or at least interesting; their realisation was impossible. There is bound to be an element of moral judgment in any account of the Windsors, but the Duchess has had the worst of it. The ...

Sisterly

A.N. Wilson, 21 October 1993

Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 538 pp., £20, September 1993, 0 340 53784 1
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... sure that the audience is suitably convulsed. ‘Are you shrieking?’ she implores her sister Diana, in the middle of relaying some mildly amusing malice about a friend. To her lover Gaston Palewski (‘Colonel’), she reports that Odette Massigli is having an affair with John Lehmann, who had never liked women before’. ‘Are you ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: The Mosleys and Other Affairs, 17 November 1983

... Mention of Gerald recalls to my mind that he regularly visited Brixton Prison when Sir Oswald Mosley was interned there as a dangerous Fascist and pro-Hitlerite. When an officious friend warned Gerald that visiting Brixton would bring him, too, under suspicion, Gerald replied, ‘It is when a friend is under suspicion that he needs friends most,’ and ...

‘Derek, please, not so fast’

Ferdinand Mount: Derek Jackson, 7 February 2008

As I Was Going to St Ives: A Life of Derek Jackson 
by Simon Courtauld.
Michael Russell, 192 pp., £17.50, October 2007, 978 0 85955 311 7
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... Simon Courtauld tells the story of a remarkable human being – well, remarkable being. Even Diana Mosley, Jackson’s best friend, had to concede that he wasn’t quite human, and it takes one to know one. Courtauld provides as lucid an account of his work as the layman could hope for, and it would be hard to improve on his laconic, inconspicuously ...

The Lady Vanishes

Zoë Heller, 20 July 1995

The Last of the Duchess 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £16.99, April 1995, 0 333 63062 9
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... Blum’s Jewishness on only one other occasion, when she mentions how ‘ironic’ it is that Diana Mosley, who ‘bravely’ endured war-time imprisonment for her Nazi sympathies, should, in old age, be so intimidated by an old Jewish lawyer. Blum’s Jewishness clearly has a significance for Blackwood, but the manners or qualities that it is ...

At Sotheby’s

Rosemary Hill: Debo’s Bibelots , 17 March 2016

... to Unity, remembered tersely in the Dictionary of National Biography as ‘Nazi sympathiser’. Diana married Oswald Mosley and spent the Second World War in Holloway, Nancy was the novelist and Pamela the one everybody forgets about. Debo was known to her older sisters as ‘Nine’ because they thought that was her ...

Darling, are you mad?

Jenny Diski: Ghost-writing for Naim Attallah, 4 November 2004

Ghosting 
by Jennie Erdal.
Canongate, 270 pp., £14.99, November 2004, 1 84195 562 0
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... as Of a Certain Age, where the subjects talked themselves into a corner not far from the truth. Diana Mosley felt cosseted enough by Attallah to explain about the Jews that ‘collectively, so to speak, they may be deprecated by certain people but individually they’re considered brilliant, charming, clever.’ Though ‘they were anti-...

The great times they could have had

Paul Foot, 15 September 1988

Wallis: Secret Lives of the Duchess of Windsor 
by Charles Higham.
Sidgwick, 419 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 283 99627 7
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The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor 
by Michael Bloch.
Bantam, 326 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 9780593016671
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... French businessman, Charles Bedaux. Perhaps her most consistent British confidante and friend was Diana Mosley, Sir Oswald’s wife. As the Windsors and the Mosleys grew old in exile, they took regular solace together, meeting and dining twice a week and musing about the great times they could have had if only the British had seen sense and sided with ...

Attila the Hus

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 4 November 1982

Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 28849 4
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... Nicholas Mosley’s parents, Cynthia Curzon and Oswald Mosley, were married in the Chapel Royal, St James’s on 11 May 1920: ‘Cimmie’s wedding dress had a design of green leaves in it, in defiance of a superstition that green at a wedding was unlucky: there was also a superstition that it was unlucky to be married in May ...

Hons and Wets

D.A.N. Jones, 6 December 1984

The House of Mitford 
by Jonathan Guinness and Catherine Guinness.
Hutchinson, 604 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 0 09 155560 4
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... the country-house retainers the Redesdales ought to have been). The silliest daughters, Unity and Diana, did worse: they persuaded their parents to become Nazi supporters in real, horrible life. Jonathan Guinness is in a difficulty when writing about his mother and his aunts. He is the son of Diana, the most unpopular of ...

Dark Tom

Christopher Ricks, 1 December 1983

Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley 1933-1980 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 323 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 28852 4
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Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Fontana, 274 pp., £2.50, October 1983, 0 00 636644 9
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... is pathetic, when not tragic; and always, at the same time, comic.’ The life of Sir Oswald Mosley was pathetic, tragic and comic, and his son’s humane deliberated biography is itself a notable contribution to ‘The Literature of Fascism’ which T.S. Eliot was judging with that sentence in 1928. In 1928 Oswald ...

Double-Barrelled Dolts

Ferdinand Mount: Mosley’s Lost Deposit, 6 July 2006

Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism 
by Stephen Dorril.
Viking, 717 pp., £30, April 2006, 0 670 86999 6
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Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Fascists and Fascism between the Wars 
by Martin Pugh.
Pimlico, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2006, 1 84413 087 8
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... It is 26 years since Oswald Mosley breathed his last at the Temple de la Gloire, the athletic frame which he had once so proudly flexed now sadly bloated, his piercing eyes shrunk to peepholes, the sinister moustache long shaven. It is 66 years since Churchill brought his serious political career to an abrupt end by interning him in Brixton jail ...

Poor Hitler

Andrew O’Hagan: Toff Humour, 15 November 2007

The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Fourth Estate, 834 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 84115 790 0
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... true of the letters too, which now appear in The Mitfords, a collection edited by Charlotte Mosley. The man in the street was never Nancy Mitford’s sort of thing. In fact, she found the very notion of the public quite ludicrous. (How she would struggle today!) Her idea of perfect bliss, she once said, was lots of peasants happy in their cottages as ...

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