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    • ISBN:9781473622463
    • Publication date:06 Oct 2016
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    • ISBN:9781473622487
    • Publication date:06 Oct 2016

Dashing for the Post

The Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor

By Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • Paperback
  • £12.99

A revelatory collection of letters written by the author of The Broken Road

A revelatory collection of letters written by the author of The Broken Road.

Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly gifted friend.

The letters in this collection span almost seventy years, the first written ten days before Paddy's twenty-fifth birthday, the last when he was ninety-four. His correspondents include Deborah Devonshire, Ann Fleming, Nancy Mitford, Lawrence Durrell, Diana Cooper and his lifelong companion, Joan Rayner; he wrote his first letter to her in his cell at the monastery Saint Wandrille, the setting for his reflections on monastic life in A Time to Keep Silence. His letters exhibit many of his most engaging characteristics: his zest for life, his unending curiosity, his lyrical descriptive powers, his love of language, his exuberance and his tendency to get into scrapes - particularly when drinking and, quite separately, driving.

Here are plenty of extraordinary stories: the hunt for Byron's slippers in one of the remotest regions of Greece; an ignominious dismissal from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque; hiding behind a bush to dub Dirk Bogarde into Greek during the shooting of Ill Met by Moonlight, the film based on the story of General Kreipe's abduction; his extensive travels. Some letters contain glimpses of the great and the good, while others are included purely for the joy of the jokes.

Biographical Notes

Adam Sisman is the author of several biographies, most recently of John le Carré. His Boswell's Presumptuous Task won the prestigious US National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. He is also co-editor of One Hundred Letters, a volume of selected letters of Hugh Trevor-Roper. Adam is an Honorary Fellow of the University of St Andrews, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781473622494
  • Publication date: 15 Jun 2017
  • Page count: 496
  • Imprint: John Murray
Wow - one tour de force after another! The best letters are as good as - if not better than - any in the language: Byron's, Walpole's, Henry James's, Freya Stark's. Often I laughed aloud, tears coursing down the cheeks — John Julius Norwich
Zestful, vivid and buoyant with polymathic learning, Leigh Fermor's letters reveal themselves perfect for anthology. There are descriptions and anecdotes equal to anything in his writing, spurred by memorable friendships, suffused with affection and occasional distress: all finely edited by Adam Sisman — Colin Thubron
Hugely entertaining, funny and occasionally moving . . . edited meticulously and brilliantly — Observer
Zest, verbal finesse, almost pristine receptivity and a richly informed cultural and historical consciousness make these letters, even when the erosions of time and illness shadow them, irresistibly exhilarating — Sunday Times
Adam Sisman is a model editor . . . Reading these letters is like gobbling down a tray of exotically filled chocolates, with no horrible orange creams to put you off — Harry Mount, Literary Review
Here is a veritable feast for fans of Paddy Leigh Fermor . . . Sisman has done a tremendous job selecting and editing this treasure-trove of letters — Justin Marozzi, The Spectator
Glorious, heady stuff . . . judiciously edited by Adam Sisman — Ian Thomson, Evening Standard
Adam Sisman's selection of Patrick Leigh Fermor's letters is entirely admirable . . . an unmissable feast — Lewis Jones, Daily Telegraph
Superbly edited . . . To read these letters and their superb footnotes is to walk with some of the great ghosts of 20th century literature — Rory Knight Bruce, Oldie
A feast of adventure, gossip and flirtation — The Spectator
It remains an outright pleasure to be admitted to the company of such a man. This is one of those books that make you feel a little bereft when you finish it — Catholic Herald
A fascinating and engaging sort of autobiography full of the charm found in his travel writings. Wonderful to dip into — Guardian Review
Hodder & Stoughton

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David McClay
Authors:
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The publishing house of John Murray was founded in Fleet Street in 1768 and remained a family firm over seven generations. Published to coincide with this 'remarkable achievement' and in the anniversary year, Dear Mr Murray is a collection of some of the best letters from the hundreds of thousands held in the John Murray Archive. They reveal not only the story of some of the most interesting and influential books in history but also the remarkable friendships - as well as occasional animosities - between author and publisher, as well as readers, editors, printers and illustrators.Despite the incredible number of letters that were retained by the Murray family, some failed to arrive, others were delayed and some barely survived, but longevity added to the reputation and fame of John Murray and a correspondent in Canada who addressed his letter merely to 'John Murray, The World-wide famous Book & Publishing House, London, England' as early as 1932 could be confident that his letter would arrive.Intended to entertain and inspire, and spanning more than two hundred years, Dear Mr Murray is full of literary history and curiosities: from Charles Darwin's response to the negative reviews of On the Origin of Species to Adrian Conan Doyle challenging Harold Nicolson to a duel for insulting his father in the press; from David Livingstone's displeasure at the proposed drawing of a lion to represent his near-death encounter in Missionary Travels to William Makepeace Thackeray apologising for his drunken behaviour; from Byron berating John Murray for being fooled by his girlfriend's forgery of his signature to the poet James Hogg so desperate for money that he claims he won't be able to afford a Christmas goose; and from Jane Austen expressing concern about printing delays to Patrick Leigh Fermor beseeching Jock Murray not to visit him until he'd completed A Time of Gifts. Complemented by illustrations and reproductions of letters and envelopes, this is the perfect gift for book lovers everywhere.

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