Tag Archives: Nancy Mitford

Cronaca di un amore/The Story of a Love Affair 2

I’ve just seen Antonioni’s Cronaca di un amore, which I found wonderful. But I’ve still to process it. For the time being, I can’t get over the extraordinary beauty of Lucia Bosé in the film and the eye-popping things she’s wearing. The clothes are by Ferdinando Sarmi, whom I’ve never heard of, and probably with good reason. They’re not ‘good’ or ‘original’ designs. But they sure look arresting, expensive and beautiful on Lucia Bosé. The jewels are by Corsi whom I’ve likewise never heard of. The hats are uncredited, which is a good thing as they are ridiculous. Was it Nancy Mitford who asked why a new hat always inspired either titters or violence? Massimo Girotti is the man in the picture and Antonioni does not film him with the same love as Visconti did in Ossessione. So permit me this fan swoon, and I’ll get to the film proper in another post. Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 19.40.13.png

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José Arroyo

10 Books in Ten Days: Day 5 – Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson

mapp and lucia

Day 5: Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson:

I think it took me about a decade to really become acculturated in the UK, or at least as much as I wanted to be. The moment I knew I had become so was when I ‘got’ all the Mapp and Lucia books, laughed out loud at the word play, the social mores, had no trouble imagining tone of voice from what was visible in print; saw the humour in Mrs. Mapp’s resentment of Lucia’s social wars, Giorgino mio’s collecting, the queerness of ‘Quaint’ Irene, the fraught social situations where the invisible could be a call to battle etc . There were a series of other writers that helped nudge me along: some of Evelyn Waugh (I like the pre-war work best), the glamorous comic masterpieces by Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate, The Pursuit of Love), Barbara Pym’s excellent women — doing all the vicars’ work and quietly cycling along in spite of being side-lined and overlooked — in the lovely, sparse, pointillist novels: some of my very favourites. I’ve often re-read Mitford, and probably have read everything on her and her notorious family but E.F. Benson’s world is the cozy, lovely, humorous one I find most comforting. As my friend Helen Vincent says, ‘The thing that differentiates Benson from Waugh and Mitford and quite a few others who share his love of the deliciously bitchy is that he, like Olga and Georgie and a lot of his other characters, is fundamentally kind and generous-hearted towards the social climbers and spinsters and retired colonels in all their petty scheming ways, and that is why I love him so much more than them.’ That goes for me too.


José Arroyo