Anthony Blanche and Patrick Leigh Fermor

The current Literary Review carries a review by Harry Mount of the collected letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor. These were just published in the UK under the title Dashing for the Post. Among Leigh Fermor’s correspondents were several of Waugh’s close friends, including Diana Cooper and Ann Fleming, both mentioned prominently in this and other reviews. Although the contents of the book are not available online, there may also be letters to Nancy Mitford and possibly even Waugh himself, as well as other mutual friends. Waugh knew Leigh Fermor through Diana Cooper and Nancy Mitford and mentions him in his own letters to both of them.

Mount concludes his review with this allusion to Waugh:

…the letters [are] aimed more precisely at amusing rather than dazzling their recipients, albeit with the odd bit of purple prose – ‘Their horses are caparisoned to the fetlocks.’ Leigh Fermor was charm personified. It isn’t evanescent British charm, as described by Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited: ‘Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches. It kills love; it kills art.’ Leigh Fermor’s charm was of a healthier, more worthwhile variety, because underneath lay intellect and, ultimately, love and art.

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