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Friday, 30 August 2013

Literature & Politics: The Mitford Girls

Diana Mitford
The Mitford girls were six sisters (Deborah, Jessica, Nancy, Diana, Unity and Pamela) that belonged to an aristocratic English family. Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was a British writer who wrote novels and other books about the British aristocracy. Her best-known novels areThe Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. She helped to popularise the "U", or upper-class, and "non-U" classification of linguistic usage and behaviour. Two of her sisters, Diana and Unity, became involved in right wing politics. They greatly admired Adolph Hitler and Diana married the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley.    
Deborah Mitford
Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford (September 11, 1917 – July 22, 1996) was an English author, journalist and political campaigner. She gained American citizenship in later life. Jessica (always known as "Decca") renounced her privileged background at an early age and became an adherent of communism. She was known as the "red sheep" of the family. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, reviewed Mitford's book of letters, Decca, in the Sunday Telegraph in 2006. Rowling stated in 2002, "My most influential writer, without a doubt, is Jessica Mitford. When my great-aunt gave me Hons and Rebels when I was 14, she instantly became my heroine. She ran away from home to fight in the Spanish Civil War, taking with her a camera that she had charged to her father's account. I wished I'd had the nerve to do something like that. I love the way she never outgrew some of her adolescent traits, remaining true to her politics – she was a self-taught socialist – throughout her life. I think I've read everything she wrote. I even called my daughter [Jessica Rowling Arantes] after her."

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