Francis King

Fettered by the Multiplicity of His Talents

Harold Nicolson


Jonathan Cape 374pp £20 order from our bookshop

Bereft of his wife of more than forty years and physically and mentally disintegrating, Harold Nicolson came to the conclusion that his life had been a failure. On entering the Diplomatic Service, he had been tipped as a future ambassador. But after little more than twenty years, a combination of boredom, the refusal of Vita Sackville-West to accompany him abroad, and the resentment of his colleagues at his fatal tendency to speak and even write irreverently about them persuaded him that he was getting nowhere, and he resigned.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,
    • RT : Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Cooking with Trotsky’s Frying Pan’ in June’s is the most well written and interesting… ,