8 thoughts on “Michael Bloch, James Lees-Milne. The Life

  1. I haven’t read the diaries but have read Bloch and couldn’t decided which man I liked least, the author or JLM himself. JLM must have had a lot of charm for the PoW to visit him when he was dying.


    1. That bit was the epitome of snobbishness! The only thing to matter at the end was JLM’s conquering of, and approval of, the RF.


  2. “It was good of God to make Mr and Mrs Carlyle marry each other, thus making only two people unhappy instead of four.”
    JLM and Alvilde seem to have been less generous than the Carlyles.
    It’s interesting that couples in open marriages so often combine proclaimed principles of freedom with petty jealousy in practise. Given their behaviour, presumably Alvilde didn’t want a papal annulment of her first marriage because of her actual religious beliefs either.
    It’s difficult to decide which is wierdest out of the three of them, but those of us with a morbid sense of humour and an interst in psychological oddities can enjoy them all and be thankful we never met them.


    1. No, wrong end of stick: JLM wanted the Papal annulment because he was the Catholic and she was divorcing. Bloch does say that she didn’t want to divorce and have a gap between husbands because that would mean she couldn’t use her husband’s name and thus be respectable, but lord knows whether that’s reliable or just bitchiness. So JLM applied for the annulment on the grounds of the Chaplins’ marriage being in name only (they had a daughter). It came through maybe 15 years later, long after their registry marriage.


  3. “JLM wanted the Papal annulment because he was the Catholic/”
    …of the “God will forgive me. That’s his job” variety, no doubt. I read one or two of his volumes of diaries and didn’t notice. any actual religious belief


    1. He makes a thing of attending mass in Ancestral Voices, but not all the way through. I think his Catholicism turned into a cultural version rather than spiritual.


  4. Kowing that I’d heard a BBC Radio dramatization of JLM, I went for a rummage on the Sounds page and found this playable item:
    Series 36
    Dame Helen Ghosh on James Lees-Milne
    Great Lives
    AS interviewed by another ‘[allegedly] waspish old queen’ (Matthew Parris).
    Matthew Parris’s guest is Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, who chooses as her Great Life James Lees-Milne who worked for the Trust between 1936 and 1966. He was responsible for acquiring many of the Trust’s most iconic properties and his particular talent was his ability to persuade the aristocratic owners of the houses into handing them over to the Trust for protection. His other talent was in writing, and it is his deliciously indiscreet diaries for which many people know him. Merlin Waterson, who was a friend of Lees-Milne’s, is the expert witness.
    [Bold (Header, etc) and Italics lost.]


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