Treats for Nancy Mitford fans in 2011

By the end of 2011, all of Nancy Mitford’s books (except The Water Beetle) will be back in print. Penguin recently reprinted most of her novels, including the rare Wigs on the Green. In July, Vintage Classics are reprinting Nancy’s four historical biographies, Frederick the Great, the Sun King, Madame de Pompadour (which I reviewed here) & Voltaire in Love. Vintage produce such lovely paperbacks with gorgeous cover designs so I can’t wait to see what these look like. I will probably need to own at least a couple of them as well. In October, Capuchin Classics will be reprinting Pigeon Pie & Christmas Pudding, which I think will bring all of Mitford’s novels back into print, probably for the first time. Capuchin republished Highland Fling just last year & it’s now sitting on my tbr pile. Both the new Capuchin titles will feature their new colour cover pictures, just click on the links from their homepage to have a look. I read lots of Mitfordiana last year & I can’t wait to get my hands on these titles to complete my collection.

We are definitely living in a great time for the classic reprint. With publishers like Vintage, Capuchin, Greyladies, Persephone, Virago, Bloomsbury & Hesperus as well as Penguin & OUP with their 18th & 19th century lists, I could quite happily never read a modern novel again. Well, maybe that’s a bit too drastic, but there are very few modern novelists whose books I enjoy as I do those of Dorothy Whipple, O Douglas, Barbara Pym, P G Wodehouse, Marghanita Laski, Dorothy L Sayers let alone Jane Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Maybe a reprint of Ann Bridge’s Illyrian Spring which has been enthusiastically reviewed on many of the blogs I read, most recently by Verity here? Bloomsbury reprinted The Brontes Went to Woolworths which was the Holy Grail of middlebrow readers, now we’re all desperate to read Illyrian Spring! Or more E H Young, after Harriet Devine’s enticing reviews of William (which I also enjoyed) or Miss Mole? The sky’s the limit, or should I say the dusty library stacks are the limit, as Dani at A Work in Progress has discovered.

13 thoughts on “Treats for Nancy Mitford fans in 2011

  1. It is a good time for reprints and that is exciting about Nancy Mitford! Thank you for mentioning Illyrian Spring – I do hope that that gets reprinted especially as Peking Picnic has now been done.


  2. As someone who discovered sublime authors such as Whipple and Laski just over two years ago, the planets have certainly aligned for me. Each reprint assures me of a steady supply of wonderful reading experiences!

    And just in case a publisher is watching…another vote for reprinting Illyrian Spring, I loved it!


  3. I loved, loved, loved Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love. I'm so happy to see more Mitford books reprinted — but why the omission of The Water Beetle? Now I want to read it because I can't have it.

    And I have to mention that I'm not in love with the new covers, very chick-lit-ish, IMHO. I'm getting tired of cartoon covers. I know these are middlebrow fiction but I find them so childish looking. There is so much beautiful cover art the publishers could select — the classic Virago green editions are proof of that.


  4. It is very thrilling that these publishers are doing such good work. Your post prompted me to put up a list of publishers on my blog, so I can easily visit them often.


  5. I do tend to be tempted by new books, but I read far, far more older books in the end. My library has a number of Nancy Mitford's books-though not all (we should have…) and we have lots by Ann Bridge…I suspect you'll be seeing one or two of those on my blog eventually. đŸ™‚ I'm very happy to see these small publishers reissuing these authors and there are so many more they could publish, too. I wonder which new books Bloomsbury will be bringing out?


  6. I think we should start a movement to get Illyrian Spring reprinted! I think it would suit the Bloomsbury Group list but I haven't heard about any further titles after the first two groups. Rochester Reader, I think Love in a Cold Climate & The Pursuit of Love are the perfect intros to NM. If you don't love those, she's probably not for you. Karen, I don't know anything about Water Beetle, not even if it's fiction or non-fiction. I just checked a bibliography of NM in a biography of hers I have on the tbr shelves & it's the only title not in print.


  7. Hello Lyn, I'm very excited to sign up as a follower of your blog. Google brought me here when I did a search on “Miss Read” and I was delighted with what I found here. I have realised from skimming through your blog that I too am a “middle brow” reader although, over the last few years, I haven't stretched myself as much as I could. I look forward to noting titles from your earlier posts and future ones.

    Your links look very interesting too. My current blog reading is mainly on cooking and frugality, I look forward to including more booklover blogs.

    I'm from NSW, the Illawarra just south of Sydney.

    Thanks for having me here.



  8. Rochester Reader, I hope someone who's read Illyrian Spring does suggest it to Bloomsbury if they continue with their list.
    Welcome Rose, I hope you enjoy the blog. I love Miss Read & I've just started reading the Thrush Green series after reading all the Fairacre ones over several years. I'm also an audio book fan so I've listened to a lot of the Miss Reads on CD on the way to work. Do you know about Persephone Books? They really introduced me to the middlebrow, apart from Barbara Pym & some of the Virago authors I'd read like E M Delafield & Elizabeth Von Arnim. Their link is over on the right or you could click on Persephone in my tags list to read a few reviews. The Book Depository (& all those lovely publishers reprinting middlebrow authors) has made it possible for me to get hold of so many books, even here in Australia, & now there's the e-reader, the sky (or my bank balance) is the limit. Happy reading!


  9. Thank you Lyn for your generous reply. I hoped to ask you a few questions about the reading you do and review but I don't want to hijack your comments and could not find a contact.

    Today I went into town (small regional) to see if I could buy some of the books you recommend, they were not available so I went to the Persephone Web site and ordered five there, I'm looking forward to them arriving.



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