John Betjeman was by far the most popular poet of the twentieth century. His collected poems sold over two million copies. Television audiences loved his quirky evocations of landcsape and architecture.
As Poet Laureate, he became a national icon, but behind the public man were doubts and demons. The poet best known for writing hymns of praise to athletic middle-class girls on the tennis courts led a tempestuous emotional life. For much of his fifty year marriage to Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of a Field Marshal, Betjeman had a relationship with Elizabeth Cavendish, the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire and Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret. Betjeman, a devout Anglican, was tormented by guilt about the storms this emotional triangle caused.
This book is the first to use fully the vast archive of personal material relating to Betjeman's private life, including literally hundreds of letters written by his wife about their life together and apart. Here too are chronicled his many friendships,ranging from 'Bosie' Douglas to the young satirists of Private Eye, from the Mitford sisters to the Crazy Gang. This is a celebration of a much-loved poet, a brave campaigner for architecture at risk, and a highly popular public performer. Betjeman was the classic example of the melancholy clown, whose sadness found its perfect mood-music in the hymns of a poignant Anglicanism.(2004-03-15)
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'An A-grade demonstration of the point of Betjeman… and the area
of English life that he made his own.' -- D.J. Taylor, Independent
'Betjeman is a poet who badly needs saving from his soppier fans,
and this Wilson has done.' -- Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph
'Funny, poignant and unusually well written, Wilson’s biography
does the old boy proud.' -- Mail on Sunday
'Terrific…There is really interesting and unexpected material…
[Wilson’s] book zeroes in on Betjeman’s struggles…with extraordinary
imaginative sympathy.' -- Spectator
‘Beautiful, inspiring and brilliantly perceptive… The masterpiece
that A.N. Wilson was born to write.’ -- Country Life
A new life of Betjeman by an award-winning biographer, published to mark the centenary of the poet's birth
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Book Description Hutchinson, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0091797020
Book Description Hutchinson, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0091797020
Book Description Hutchinson, UK, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. NEW BOOK and DJ with new Mylar protection. Hardcover, 375 pages, with illustrations. Size: Octavio. Bookseller Inventory # 105015