Artemis Cooper - Patrick Leigh Fermor - Hodder & Stoughton
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    • ISBN:9780719565496
    • Publication date:27 Jun 2013
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    • ISBN:9781848546707
    • Publication date:11 Oct 2012

Patrick Leigh Fermor

By Artemis Cooper

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The authorized biography shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year, the National Book Awards and the Costa Biography Award

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was a war hero whose exploits in Crete are legendary, and above all he is widely acclaimed as the greatest travel writer of our times, notably for his books about his walk across pre-war Europe, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water; he was a self-educated polymath, a lover of Greece and the best company in the world.

Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his closest friends as well as having complete access to his archives. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts - no one wore their learning so playfully, nor inspired such passionate friendship.

Biographical Notes

Artemis Cooper is the author of Cairo in the War, 1939-1945 and Writing at the Kitchen Table, the authorized biography of Elizabeth David. With her husband Antony Beevor she wrote Paris After the Liberation, 1945-1949. She has edited two collections of letters and Words of Mercury, a collection of pieces by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

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  • ISBN: 9780719554490
  • Publication date: 11 Oct 2012
  • Page count: 464
'Artemis Cooper's funny, wise, learned but totally candid biography reveals Leigh Fermor to be an adventurer through and through . . . page-turning' — Barnaby Rogerson, Independent
'Artemis Cooper's definitive biography draws on many years' encounters with Fermor, and is probably the most important travel-related book of the year' — Conde Nast Traveller
'Patrick Leigh Fermor survived enough assaults on his existence to make Rasputin seem like a quitter . . . He was elegant as a cat, darkly handsome, unboreable, curious, fearless, fortunate, blessed with a near eidetic memory, and is surely one of the great English prose stylists of his generation . . . At last his biography has been detailed in full, in Artemis Cooper's tender and excellent book' — Robert MacFarlane, Guardian
'This book is a primer for those poor souls yet to encounter his work, and a valuable, decoding manual for the multitude who believe that Leigh Fermor's trilogy about his youthful walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul marks one of the high points of twentieth-century English prose . . . Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover' — Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph
'Xenophilia is as English as Stilton. In one of the wonderful letters quoted in this perceptive, haunting and highly readable biography, Patrick Leigh Fermor called living in England "like living in the heart of a lettuce. I pine for hot stones and thorns and olive trees and prickly pears"' — Philip Mansel, The Spectator
'Happy the hero who, after a lifetime of glorious achievement, in death finds a biographer worthy of his memory. Artemis Cooper . . . makes this marvellous book less a mere life story than an evocation. [Patrick Leigh Fermor] is justly commemorated in this magnificent biography, and will surely be remembered for ever as one of the very best of men' — Jan Morris, Sunday Telegraph
'Magnificent . . . Cooper's book is the perfect memorial to this remarkable man . . . For those of us who loved him and his work, and for a whole generation of writers who set off in his footsteps, he was the exemplar, showing how magnificently an English life could still be lived. He remains . . . the model to which we still aspire' — William Dalrymple, Financial Times
'Whether describing a night attack on Crete, a love affair or the political tensions over Cyprus that poisoned Anglo-Greek relations after the Second World War, she writes with a cool hand and clear head. Her book lives up to the majesty of the man' — Country Life
'Artemis Cooper has done a brilliant job. The story rips along, as Leigh Fermor's life did, with friends and lovers, books and journeys and parties. And in the quieter moments we are left with something far more enduring: a man for whom the world was endlessly fascinating, and who found that he could create for his readers with carefully crafted words the same wonder that it gave him' — Philip Marsden, Mail on Sunday
'The outstanding achievement in literary biography this year' — Robert McCrum, Observer Books of the Year 2012
'It is not easy writing a biography of someone who has poured so much of his life into his books, but Artemis Cooper has done a brilliant job' — Mail on Sunday
'In a splendid biography Artemis Cooper shows how a rather frustrated young man, who found it difficult to conform, changed the course of his life by undertaking an extraordinary journey . . . Cooper has done a sterling job in recounting his time on Crete' — We Love This Book
'He is the greatest travel writer of the last century, a master of English prose . . . no one has written so well about what it is like to be young and hopeful, with one's future spread before one. Artemis Cooper has done him proud' — Jeremy Lewis, Literary Review
'Artemis Cooper carries us on a calm, confident journey . . . Cooper has mastered a tremendous amount of material' — Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph
'Artemis Cooper winningly followed in the footsteps of the great charmer, warrior and yarn-spinner' — Independent
'Artemis Cooper's biography proved magnificently that a somewhat over-eulogised hero could be well worth the eulogising after all' — Jan Morris, Sunday Telegraph
'There's a true biographical treat in store with the long-awaited arrival of . . . Patrick Leigh Fermor, the sure-to-be glorious life of the twentieth century's greatest Hellenic traveller' — Sunday Telegraph preview Jan 2012
'Excellent, well-sourced' — Daily Telegraph
'By any standards, Patrick Leigh Fermor led an extraordinary life' — Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
'Artemis Cooper draws on years of interviews with the author and his friends in this much-anticipated biography' — Guardian
'Fermor emerges as a man determined to live on his own terms, if not his own means, and who mostly - and most magnificently - succeeded' — Observer
'I also adored Artemis Cooper's biography of my favourite travel writer . . . in her new biography Cooper has left the perfect memorial to this remarkable man, which is as full of joie de vivre as its subject' — William Dalrymple, Observer Books of the Year
'An outstanding account of an extraordinary life; tender and evocative, without ever hardening into hagiography' — Guardian Books of the Year 2012
'The life of an immensely charming man . . . compelling, funny and wise' — Jane Ridley, The Spectator Books of the Year
'In describing Leigh Fermor's life, Artemis Cooper had often to revisit a told tale while correcting detail, expounding and inserting context. It was not an easy commission, and she has delivered it brilliantly . . . Artemis Cooper's fine biography gives colour and substance to the adventure, and a delicate, sympathetic portrait of the man who made it his life' — Scotsman
'An admirably fair-minded portrait of the celebrated travel writer and adventurer' — Sunday Times
'It is not easy to convey the flavour of a man whose fame to a large extent rests on his ebullient personality and conversation but Ms Cooper succeeds admirably in this readable and entertaining book' — The Economist
'A fine friendly, biography of a heroic, headlong character' — The Times
'Unputdownable biography' — Big Issue
'Artemis Cooper has done a fine job of documenting his travels' — Lonely Planet Magazine
'Tender and excellent' — Week
'Meticulously researched' — Independent on Sunday
'Artemis Cooper . . . has done him proud' — Literary Review
'[Patrick Leigh Fermor's] experiences have been rubbed smooth by much telling, often inaccurate as well as humdrum, and it is very much to Artemis Cooper's credit that she irons out the inaccuracies and places each anecdote in its poper context, backing it up with careful documentation' — Patrick Green, Times Literary Supplement
'Cooper does this iconic figure proud in a well-researched biography' — Sunday Herald
'One of the 20th century's truly great men, Fermor is admirably served by this splendid biography' — Lady
'Cooper does full justice to this fascinating 20th-century Renaissance man' — Saga Magazine
'A superb biography of the adventurous travel writer and war hero, draws on the years of interviews and complete access to his archives' — Independent
'A roster of adventure and exuberant derring-do' — Independent on Sunday
'His writing beautifully evokes exotic people and places. There wasn't nearly enough of it, but what there was has endured' — Peter Lewis, Daily Mail
'Artemis Cooper's Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure was widely admired for its vivid portrait of a remarkable man' — David Robson, Sunday Telegraph
'A clear-sighted account of an extraordinary life' — Sunday Express
'She successfully communicates his enormous enthusiasm for life' — Paul Torday, Sunday Express
Artemis Cooper reveals a quite extraordinary human being — Good Book Guide
Affectionate but never credulous, Cooper gets the measure of the man — Guardian
It is the depth, pace and objectivity that distinguishes this impressive biography — Daily Mail
Affectionate and amiable biography — Sunday Times Culture
Cooper makes a familiar life - the adolescent walk across Europe, the derring-do in wartime Crete, the books that established him as one of the great prose writes of the 20th century - seem new — Sunday Telegraph
Tender and excellent — Guardian
Artemis Cooper does a wonderful job of retelling the story of how 'Paddy' tramped across Europe in the 1930s, slept with princesses and kidnapped Nazis on his beloved island of Crete. Affectionate but never credulous, Cooper gets the measure of the man — Observer
Robert Macfarlane delights in a biography of his writer-adventurer hero

Fantastic review in The Guardian

'Patrick Leigh Fermor survived enough assaults on his existence to make Rasputin seem like a quitter . . . He was elegant as a cat, darkly handsome, unboreable, curious, fearless, fortunate, blessed with a near eidetic memory, and is surely one of the great English prose stylists of his generation . . . '

John Murray

In Tearing Haste

Patrick Leigh Fermor, Deborah Devonshire

In spring 1956, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire - youngest of the six legendary Mitford sisters - invited the writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor to visit Lismore Castle, the Devonshires' house in Ireland. This halcyon visit sparked off a deep friendship and a lifelong exchange of sporadic but highly entertaining letters.There can rarely have been such contrasting styles: Debo, unashamed philistine and self-professed illiterate (though suspected by her friends of being a secret reader), darts from subject to subject while Paddy, polyglot, widely read prose virtuoso, replies in the fluent, polished manner that has earned him recognition as one of the finest writers in the English language.Prose notwithstanding, the two friends have much in common: a huge enjoyment of life, youthful high spirits, warmth, generosity and lack of malice. There are glimpses of President Kennedy's inauguration, weekends at Sandringham, stag hunting in France, filming with Errol Flynn in French Equatorial Africa and, above all, of life at Chatsworth, the great house that Debo spent much of her life restoring, and of Paddy in the house that he and his wife Joan designed and built on the southernmost peninsula of Greece.

John Murray

The Broken Road

Patrick Leigh Fermor

The long-awaited final volume of the trilogy by Patrick Leigh Fermor.A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water were the first two volumes in a projected trilogy that would describe the walk that Patrick Leigh Fermor undertook at the age of eighteen from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. 'When are you going to finish Vol. III?' was the cry from his fans; but although he wished he could, the words refused to come. The curious thing was that he had not only written an early draft of the last part of the walk, but that it predated the other two. It remains unfinished but The Broken Road - edited and introduced by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper - completes an extraordinary journey.

John Murray

Words of Mercury

Patrick Leigh Fermor
John Murray

Along the Enchanted Way

William Blacker

When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world.There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed the hay meadows and in the freezing winters gathered wood by sleigh from the forest. From sheepfolds harried by wolves, to courting expeditions in the snow, he experienced the traditional way of life to the full, and became accepted into a community who treated him as one of their own. But Blacker was also intrigued by the Gypsies, those dark, foot-loose strangers of spell-binding allure who he saw passing through the village. Locals warned him to stay clear but he fell in love and there followed a bitter struggle.Change is now coming to rural Romania, and William Blacker's adventures will soon be part of its history. From his early carefree days tramping the hills of Transylvania, to the book's poignant ending, Along the Enchanted Way transports us back to a magical country world most of us thought had vanished long ago.

Interview with Artemis Cooper

'Everyone fell in love with Paddy Leigh Fermor'

Read the Telegraph's interview with Artemis Cooper, where the biographer talks about Patrick Leigh Fermor, the impact he had on others, and writing his biography.

John Murray

Abducting a General

Patrick Leigh Fermor

New appointments and acquisitions at John Murray Press

Hodder & Stoughton's new division John Murray Press has made key appointments in their sales and communications departments. Ben Gutcher, previously Digital Key Account Director at Hodder & Stoughton, has begun his new role as Sales Director for John Murray Press, overseeing sales across all five imprints within the new division: John Murray (Publishers), Hodder Faith, Consumer Learning, Two Roads and Saltyard Books. Hodder Publicity Director Rosie Gailer has been appointed Communications Director for the new division, and Lyndsey Ng has also moved across to the John Murray Press communications department as Publicity Manager. The moves come as part of the Hodder & Stoughton restructure, creating specialist sales, publicity and marketing teams for the divisions. It signals the start of an exciting second half of 2013 for John Murray Press, with highlight titles over the coming months including the much anticipated third volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's travel trilogy, THE BROKEN ROAD, Michael Rosen's ALPHABETICAL, the official story of the discovery of Richard III’s remains THE KING’S GRAVE, and SCHOTTENFREUDE, the new book by bestseller Ben Schott. John Murray Press have also recently lined up a roster of high-profile titles for 2014 and beyond: John Murray Press Managing Director Nick Davies has acquired a new book by Amanda Vickery – the acclaimed historian, prize winning author and broadcaster will turn her gaze on the 1950s in MODERN GIRLS, a social history focusing on the lives of women in a period of enormous change. Davies struck a deal for UK & Commonwealth Rights with Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander Associates. Davies has also bought rights to the letters of Roald Dahl, compiled by Donald Sturrock, whose 2011 biography of Dahl was widely praised. Dahl was a prolific letter writer from the age of 9 and for the last thirty years of his life he spent two hours a day on correspondence. Full of his wit and his darker, more troubled side, LETTERS FROM DAHL will be published to coincide with the Dahl centenary in 2016. Roland Philipps has struck a deal with Ed Victor for a new history of women in the twentieth century from acclaimed social historian Juliet Nicolson. Philipps has also secured World English language rights to a biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard by Artemis Cooper, author of 2012’s hugely acclaimed biography PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR. In a hotly fought auction, John Murray Publisher Georgina Laycock acquired WHAT IF? by ex-NASA scientist Randall Munroe, whose cult webcomic xkcd.com/ has had more than a billion page hits and featured in Wired magazine as one of their 20 key influences of the last 20 years, alongside Steve Jobs and online dating. WHAT IF (acquired from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein and coming out in October 2014) will answer all your questions about science. In another auction, Laycock has just snapped up THE DARLEY ARABIAN, a vivid history of racing through the stories of 25 exceptional horses, from the Independent's award-winning racing correspondent Chris McGrath. The agent is Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates and the book will come out in 2015. Meanwhile Publishing Director Eleanor Birne has also acquired two new titles: from Tracy Bohan at The Wylie Agency, a new book by Craig Taylor, NEW YORKERS, which will do the same for the US city as his much loved LONDONERS did for the UK capital and will be published in 2016; and from Barney Karpfinger at The Karpfinger Agency LILLIAN ON LIFE by Alison Lester, a brilliantly written, sassy debut novel that will appeal to readers of The Best Of Everything and fans of Mad Men. LILLIAN ON LIFE will be published in July 2014. Nick Davies says: ‘I am delighted to welcome Ben, Rosie and Lyndsey to the John Murray Press team. Their expertise is considerable and their passion for books infectious. They're already having a considerable impact on our strong autumn list and are helping to build an exciting new generation of writers here at John Murray.’ For further information or for more details on titles mentioned above, please contact Rosie Gailer: 020 7873 6452 or rosie.gailer@hodder.co.uk

Extract

GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT LOUD, by Emma Henderson

Read an excerpt of Emma Henderson's GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT ALL, shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011.

John Murray

Mani

Patrick Leigh Fermor

This is Patrick Leigh Fermor's spellbinding part-travelogue, part inspired evocation of a part of Greece's past. Joining him in the Mani, one of Europe's wildest and most isolated regions, cut off from the rest of Greece by the towering Taygettus mountain range and hemmed in by the Aegean and Ionian seas, we discover a rocky central prong of the Peleponnese at the southernmost point in Europe.Bad communications only heightening the remoteness, this Greece - south of ancient Sparta - is one that maintains perhaps a stronger relationship with the ancient past than with the present. Myth becomes history, and vice versa... Leigh Fermor's hallmark descriptive writing and capture of unexpected detail have made this book, first published in 1958, a classic - together with its Northern Greece counterpart, Roumeli.

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In December 1933, at the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) walked across Europe, reaching Constantinople in early 1935. He travelled on into Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzene, with whom he lived - mostly in Rumania - until the outbreak of war. Serving in occupied Crete, he led a successful operation to kidnap a German general, for which he won the DSO. After the war he began writing, and travelled extensively round Greece with Joan Eyres Monsell whom he later married. Towards the end of his life he wrote the first two books about his early trans-European odyssey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. He planned a third, unfinished at the time of his death in 2011, which has since been edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper and published as The Broken Road.

John Murray

A Time to Keep Silence

Patrick Leigh Fermor
John Murray

A Time of Gifts

Patrick Leigh Fermor
John Murray

The Traveller's Tree

Patrick Leigh Fermor

John Murray

Between the Woods and the Water

Patrick Leigh Fermor

The acclaimed travel writer's youthful journey - as an 18-year-old - across 1930s Europe by foot began in A Time of Gifts, which covered the author's exacting journey from the Lowlands as far as Hungary. Picking up from the very spot on a bridge across the Danube where his readers last saw him, we travel on with him across the great Hungarian Plain on horseback, and over the Romanian border to Transylvania.The trip was an exploration of a continent which was already showing signs of the holocaust which was to come. Although frequently praised for his lyrical writing, Fermor's account also provides a coherent understanding of the dramatic events then unfolding in Middle Europe. But the delight remains in travelling with him in his picaresque journey past remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges.Although Between the Woods and the Water was published nine years after A Time of Gifts, Fermor is famously still at work on the concluding part of his trilogy.

John Murray

Roumeli

Patrick Leigh Fermor
John Murray

The Violins of Saint-Jacques

Patrick Leigh Fermor

On an Aegean island one summer, an English traveller meets an enigmatic elderly Frenchwoman. He is captivated by a painting she owns of a busy Caribbean port overlooked by a volcano, and, in time, she shares the story of her youth there in the early twentieth century. Set in the tropical luxury of the island of Saint-Jacques, hers is a tale of romantic intrigue and decadence amongst the descendents of slaves and a fading French aristocracy. But on the night of the annual Mardi Gras ball, catastrophe overwhelms the island and the world she knew came to an abrupt and haunting end. The Violins of Saint-Jacques captures the unforeseen drama of forces beyond human control. Originally published in 1953, it was immediately hailed as a rare and exotic sweep of colour across the drab monochrome of the post-war years, and it has lost nothing of its original flavour.

John Murray

Three Letters from the Andes

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In 1971 the celebrated traveller Patrick Leigh Fermor accompanied five friends on a remarkable journey into the high Andes of Peru. His adventure took him from Cuzco to Urubamba, on to Puno and Juli on Lake Titicaca, down to Arequipa and finally back to Lima.The expedition was led by a writer and poet and the party included a Swiss international skier and jeweller, a social anthropologist from Provence and a Nottinghamshire farming squire - all seasoned mountaineers. The other two participants - the author himself and a botany-loving duke - were complete novices. As the group travelled from Lima into increasingly remote parts of the country, Leigh Fermor captured their experiences in a series of letters to his wife.Whether recounting the thrill of crossing a glacier, the rigours of campsite life under a blanket of snow, their lively encounters with locals or the strangely moving sight of a lone condor circling in the sky, the author vividly conveys the excitement of discovery and the intense uniqueness of the land.

17 Sep
Ivy House, 94-96 North End Road, London, NW11 7SX

Artemis Cooper at Ham & High Festival

Artemis Cooper will be speaking about The Broken Road at Ham & High Literary Festival.

Two Roads

Until I Say Good-Bye

Bret Witter, Susan Spencer-Wendel