‘The original Bright Young Thing’: Beverley Nichols’ Crazy Pavements (1927)
by Victoria Madden
That charming hostess, Honoria Plum at Plumtopia, has introduced me to yet another interesting and intelligent guest: Erica at ‘Reading 1900-1950’, who writes excellent reviews of the early twentieth century fiction collection held at Sheffield Hallam University. (Those written by others, it must be said, are rather more uneven.)
I hadn’t heard of Beverley Nichols (1898-1983) before finding this novel in a box of donations. As soon as I started to do my research it became clear that he is yet another writer who was extremely well-known in his day, and almost entirely forgotten now. Nichols had an amazingly prolific and wide-ranging writing career. He wrote satirical novels, mystery novels, novels for children; short stories; plays; books on politics, travel, gardening, cooking; and finally, about cats. For a full bibliography see http://www.beverleynichols.com/index.php.
From the beginning of his career he was determined to become a celebrity, and he achieved this. Osbert Sitwell called him ‘the original Bright Young Thing’, and he wrote his first autobiography at 25. (His ambition is clear from the opening line: ‘Twenty-five seems to me the latest age at which anyone should write an autobiography’. It is called, imaginatively, Twenty Five.)
Crazy Pavements (1927)…
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