edited by Charlotte Mosley


Date of First Publication: 1996

Although Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh had known each other since the late 1920s, it was on paper that their friendship flourished. They began corresponding at the end of the Second World War and continued until Waugh’s death in 1963. As letter writers they brought out the best in each other – with no one else do they reach the same heights of sustained levity, stylistic dandyism and savage humour.


‘This treat of a correspondence, crackling with malicious jokes, social gossip and the most patronising chauvinism, should reduce any politically correct crusader to incoherent rage.’
Daily Telegraph

‘Set to make one ache with laughter on
every page. Keep it by the bed, read a couple
of pages a day, and you will have a jolly good
companion for a year.’
Mail on Sunday

(Evelyn Waugh to Nancy Mitford, 24 October 1948)
‘The manuscript [Love in a Cold Climate] was a delight to read, full of wit & fun & fantasy. Whole passages (e.g. Cedric's arrival & first evening) might be used verbatim in a book. The theme is original & promising. There is not a boring sentence . . . But it isn't a book at all yet. No more 40 hour week. Blood, sweat & tears. That is to say if you want to produce a work of art. There is a work of art there, lurking in a hole, occasionally visible by the tip of its whiskers.’

(Nancy Mitford to Evelyn Waugh, 8 October 1948) 
‘You are really kind to have taken so much trouble. I agree with nearly all you say - I've always known that Boy was too sketchy, & that the beginning is clumsy. I have re-written the whole thing once already you know. What I wonder is whether I can (am capable of) doing better . . .You must remember that I am an uneducated woman (viz punctuation) & that I have done my best & worked hard already. What you say about the minor characters I don't agree with. Your complaint is that they are not photographs of existing people, but one must be allowed to invent people if one is a novelist.’