Arthur Marshall

Sugar Plums

Self Portrait with Friends. The Selected Diaries of Cecil Beaton 1926-1974

By

Weidenfeld 472pp £8.95 order from our bookshop

Which misguided frog was it who dared to say, long ago, that il n’y a pas de lettres ennuyeuses? Can it have been Dumas? It was, at all events, twaddle. Memoirs and biographies and, heaven knows, the daily posts swarm with such letters, as we all know to our cost. However, had the statement concerned diaries, it would have been a different and more accurate kettle of fish. Almost any diary is a fascination, even the purely schoolboy ones (‘Got up late. Didn’t wash. Had breakfast’, and so on right through to the end of an action-packed day: ‘Had my supper. Did my teeth. Squeezed my blackheads. Went to bed’).

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 mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,