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D.J. Taylor

Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age

D.J. Taylor.
Publisher FSG  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.25 x 5.5 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780374532116
Pages/Publication Date 361/2010
Daedalus Item Code 21080
This item is not available.
Long before the media circus surrounding Paris Hilton and others who became famous for being famous, says the Whitbread Prize–winning author of Orwell: The Life, there were the Bright Young People, a voracious band of bohemian party-givers and blue-blooded socialites who romped through the gossip columns of 1920s London. Evelyn Waugh immortalized their slang, their pranks, and their tragedies in his novels, and many—from Cecil Beaton to Nancy Mitford and John Betjeman—would become household names. But in this elegiac group portrait of the era, D.J. Taylor finds beneath the veneer of hedonism and flippancy a tormented generation raised in the shadow of war.

"Theirs was a life of glittering frivolity, of scavenger hunts that stopped traffic in Sloane Square, cocktails and dancing until dawn, notorious gatherings like the Bath and Bottle Party at a swimming pool ('bring a Bath towel and a Bottle' the invitation said), sprees that envious mortals read about in gossip columns. To make the fantasy complete, the story even offers a satisfying touch of schadenfreude. As D.J. Taylor emphasizes in this incisive social history, these flighty creatures crashed with a thud louder than you'd imagine butterflies could make. Taylor compares the Mozart party photo to a 'medieval morality play' capturing how the Bright Young People got their comeuppance: their zaniness became more self-conscious and attenuated; they tried to ignore the fragile postwar economy and the crumbling aristocracy, but those changes were ready to bite them. It was fun while it lasted, though, for much of the 1920s.... Lightened by the book's beautiful design, laced with mordant period quotations and delicious satiric cartoons from newspapers and magazines. Taylor's richly detailed work also calls attention to two breezy, auspicious first novels about the Bright Young People that are unfortunately out of print: Nancy Mitford's Highland Fling and Anthony Powell's Afternoon Men."—NYTBR

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Gilded Youth: Three Lives in France's Belle Époque
Kate Cambor.
Publisher: FSG.   Format: paperback. ISBN: 9780374532246.  Daedalus Item Code: 21693
List Price: $15.00 Sale Price: $4.98 $3.98 You Save: $11.02
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