“WE TALK OF WHAT SMALL COMFORT IT IS TO HAVE BEEN PROVED RIGHT”
NICOLSON, Harold. Diaries and Letters. New York: Atheneum, 1966-67. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter crushed dark blue morocco gilt, raised bands, patterned endpapers, top edges gilt. $450.
First American edition of Harold Nicolson’s personal writings and correspondence, handsomely bound.
The two volumes cover the years 1930-1939 and 1939-1945 and include numerous photographs of Nicolson and his wife Vita Sackville-West; their acquaintances (including Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set) and relatives; and their home at Sissinghurst Castle. Notably, these volumes includes Nicolson's valuable musings on World War II in Britain, from his thoughts on the policy of appeasement to his impressions of wartime life under Churchill. "Nicolson was a tiger for work. His mind was rapid and perspicacious; his literary style distinguished for ease, fluency, and wit; he probably never wrote a boring line. He delighted in describing the foibles of human beings, including himself, and yet he was totally devoid of malice or rancour. Although fastidious to a degree verging on exclusiveness, he had a host of friends among the intellectual, artistic, and political élite. He disliked formality and pomposity. The young were devoted to him for the fun as well as wisdom with which he enriched their lives, for he was the most stimulating and entertaining of conversationalists. Indeed his life was rich in diversity of interests" (DNB). These two volumes were followed in 1968 by a third volume, Later Years: 1945-1962, not present here.