Jeremy Lewis

Angry Young Thing

Robert Byron: A Biography

By

John Murray 512pp £20 order from our bookshop

‘ISN’T ROBERT SIMPLY killing?’ gushed Nancy Mitford to her brother Tom. ‘I love it when he talks about poetry & books, he seems to hate everything which ordinary people like! Somebody mentioned Keats & he gave an awful look & said “That man”.’ So taken was Mitford by the precocious Robert Byron – he had written his first book, Europe in the Looking-Glass, at the age of twenty – that she would happily have married him, had it not been for his penchant for ‘this wretched pederasty’; after his death in 1941 she declared that she had ‘never known anyone so complex’, and that, more than anything else, she missed his jokes.

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