The Mitford sisters are now immortal, and are one of the most astounding collection of people of their generation. Nancy's pursuit of love, Diana and Unity the facists, Pam and Deborah, the country ladies, and Jessica the communist.The childhood that Jessica recorded in Hons and Rebels is easily recognisable in The Pursuit of Love, and Love in a Cold Climate.What happened next was entirely. Hons and Rebels is an enchanting and deeply absorbing memoir of an isolated and eccentric upbringing which conceals beneath its witty, light-hearted surface much wisdom and depth of feeling. Hons and Rebels is the hugely entertaining tale of Mitford's upbringing, which was, as she dryly remarks, “not exactly conventional. Debo spent silent hours in the chicken house learning to do an exact imitation of the look of pained concentration that comes over a hen's face when it is laying an egg.
‘It was becoming rather apparent by this year of 1935 that not all of us were turning out quite according to plan,’ writes Jessica Mitford in this brilliantly funny and perceptive account of growing up as the fifth of the six notoriously headstrong Mitford sisters. And it was perhaps Jessica – always known as Decca – the lifelong hard-line socialist, who turned out least ‘according to plan’ of them all.
For the young Mitfords growing up at Swinbrook, the hideous, cold Cotswold house built by Lord Redesdale (‘Farve’), life was isolated and stiflingly uneventful, revolving around the church, the Conservative Party and Farve’s occasional dyspeptic excursions to the House of Lords. Lady Redesdale (‘Muv’) discouraged any contact with neighbouring children, and while favoured Tom, the youngest, was sent to boarding school, the plan for the girls was simple: a basic home education, followed by ‘coming out’ and a happy, well-heeled, well-connected marriage.
But Decca had other ideas. By 1935, with her three older sisters already out in the world, she was seething with hatred and discontent, and when she met her charismatic cousin Esmond Romilly, home from fighting against Franco in the Spanish Civil War, it was love at first sight. They eloped, and this was the beginning of a story which took them from a precarious existence in the East End of London to selling silk stockings door-to-door in Washington and running a bar in Miami. Hons and Rebels is a memoir that shocks and amuses by its sheer bravado, a remarkable portrait of an eccentric family by one of its most eccentric members.
‘More than an extremely amusing autobiography . . . she has evoked a whole generation.’ Sunday Times
‘Stunning. Reads like an extravagantly mannered fiction, except that it is all fabulously true ... Miss Mitford is at once touching and wildly funny, and there is not one of highly coloured characters that is not violently alive and uncomfortably kicking.’ Siriol Hugh-Jones, Tatler
‘[An] uproarious yet deadly portrait of family life and family politics . . . It evokes the atmosphere of the 1930s with more feeling than almost any other book of the period.’ Christopher Hitchens, The Atlantic
‘Hons and Rebels reads like a comic novel, except the characters would be judged too outlandish . . . This is a book about wanting life to start, about the fizzing adventure of being young’ Janice Turner, The Times
Left, Left, Left
In the early 1980s I began working on my first book, a biography of Nancy Mitford. Four of the six Mitford sisters were then still living, Pamela in the Cotswolds, Diana in Paris with her second...Read more
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|Followed by||The American Way of Death|
Hons and Rebels, originally published in the United States under the title Daughters and Rebels, is an autobiography by political activistJessica Mitford, which describes her aristocratic childhood and the conflicts between her and her sistersUnity and Diana, who were ardent supporters of Nazism. Jessica was a supporter of Communism and eloped with her second cousin, Esmond Romilly, to fight with the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, and Diana grew up to marry Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists. Unity befriended Nazi leader Hitler, who praised her as an ideal of Aryan beauty.
Hons And Rebels Jessica Mitford Pdf
'In the windows, still to be seen, are swastikas carved into the glass with a diamond ring, and for every swastika a carefully delineated hammer and sickle. They were put there by my sister Unity and myself when we were children. Hanging on the walls are framed pictures and poems done by Unity when she was quite small—queer, imaginative, interesting work, some on a tiny scale of microscopic detail, some huge and magnificent. The Hons' Cupboard, where Debo and I spent much of our time, still has the same distinctive, stuffy smell and enchanting promise of complete privacy from the Grown-ups.'
Mitford and Hons and Rebels are cited by J.K. Rowling and Christopher Hitchens as great influences.
- ^Hons and Rebels. Retrieved 14 January 2013.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^Boadilla by Esmond Romilly, The Clapton Press Limited, London, 2018 ISBN978-1999654306
- ^Eder, Richard (17 November 2006). 'In a Lifetime of Letters, the Evolution of an Aristocrat'. The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2016.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^'Excerpt: Hons and Rebels'. NPR. 1 August 2005. Retrieved 14 January 2013.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^'Harry and Me'. The Scotsman. 9 November 2002. Retrieved 14 January 2013.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^'Christopher Hitchens interviews Jessica Mitford (1988)' on YouTube
Hons And Rebels Amazon
- Asthall Manor – the Mitford's childhood home