Author(s): Nancy Mitford
"Wigs on the Green" by Nancy Mitford is a hilarious satire of the upper classes. Eugenia Malmains is one of the richest girls in England and an ardent supporter of Captain Jack and the Union Jackshirts; Noel and Jasper are both in search of an heiress (so much easier than trying to work for the money); Poppy and Marjorie are nursing lovelorn hearts; and the beautiful bourgeois Mrs Lace is on the prowl for someone near Eugenia's fabulous country home at Chalford, and much farce ensues. One of Nancy Mitford's earliest novels, Wigs on the Green has been out of print for nearly seventy-five years. Nancy's sisters Unity and Diana were furious with her for making fun of Diana's husband, Oswald Moseley, and his politics, and the book caused a rift between them all that endured for years. Nancy Mitford skewers her family and their beliefs with her customary jewelled barbs, but there is froth, comedy and heart here too. "Deliciously funny". (Evelyn Waugh). Nancy Mitford was the eldest of the infamous Mitford sisters, known for her membership in "The Bright Young Things" clique of the 1920s and an intimate of Evelyn Waugh; she produced witty, satirical novels with a cast of characters taken directly from the aristocratic social scene of which she was a part. Her novels, "The Pursuit of Love", "Love in a Cold Climate", "The Blessing" and "Don't Tell Alfred", are available in single paperback editions from Penguin or as part of "The Penguin Complete Novels of Nancy Mitford" which also includes "Highland Fling", "Christmas Pudding" and "Pigeon Pie". This edition of "Wigs on the Green" is introduced by journalist and editor Charlotte Mosley.
Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was born in London, the eldest child of the second Baron Redesdale. Her childhood in a large remote country house with her five sisters and one brother is recounted in the early chapters of The Pursuit of Love (1945), which according to the author, is largely autobiographical. Apart from being taught to ride and speak French, Nancy Mitford always claimed she never received a proper education. She started writing before her marriage in 1932 in order 'to relieve the boredom of the intervals between the recreations established by the social conventions of her world' and had written four novels, including Wigs on the Green (1935), before the success of The Pursuit of Love in 1945. After the war she moved to Paris where she lived for the rest of her life. She followed The Pursuit of Love with Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951) and Don't Tell Alfred (1960). She also wrote four works of biography: Madame de Pompadour, first published to great acclaim in 1954, Voltaire in Love, The Sun King and Frederick the Great. As well as being a novelist and a biographer she also translated Madame de Lafayette's classic novel, La Princesse de Cleves, into English, and edited Noblesse Oblige, a collection of essays concerned with the behaviour of the English aristocracy and the idea of 'U' and 'non-U'. Nancy Mitford was awarded the CBE in 1972. Charlotte Mosley lives in Paris and has worked as a publisher and journalist. She is the editor of Love From Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford, The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters and In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor.