Greville, Charles: Greville's England.

Greville - Greville's England. Edited by Christopher Hibbert. Folio Society, 1981, 1st thus. Selections from the Diaries of Charles Greville 1818-1860. When they appeared, just over a century ago, Greville's memoirs precipitated an uproar almost unprecedented in the history of publishing. Disraeli pronounced them to be a 'social outrage', and even Queen Victoria, who had secretly enjoyed them (until they ventured a little too close to home) said: 'the tone in which he speaks of royalty is unlike anything which one sees in history, even of people hundreds of years ago, and is most reprehensible.' All this arose, of course, because although the man who had enjoyed the confidences of Wellington, Palmerston, Peel and Lord Holland, was safely dead by the time his reminiscences were published many of the protagonists were still living. But it would be a mistake to write these marvellous memoirs off as a chronique scandaleuse. Greville's position was indeed privileged - 'high born, high bred,' he held permanent office in the Privy Council, was a leading member of the Jockey Club and a welcome guest in the great country houses of England. He knew everyone, and, more important, he could write. Whether describing 'a duel or a railway journey, a debate in the House of Commons, an operation in a London Hospital, or a party at Petworth', Greville has the power to make us feel that we were there. Here, culled from the massive original, and covering British politics and society from the Regency to the CrimeanWar, is the best of Greville: shrewd, well-informed, and delightfully indiscreet. (Folio Society). 10" x 6", 304pp plus 11 plates, dark blue-green buckram blocked in gold with a pattern on the front and spine, gold blocked spine lettering, hardback. Index. Printed on laid paper. Illustrated with historical material in monochrome. Very slightly sunned spine, slight mark of yellow from the top-edge colouring near the top of the fore-edge, very slight bump to lower-front corner of front-board, very good, probably unread (still has its original sign-up a new member post-card), complete with very good (slight sunning, slight edge-wear, bump to 1 spine end/corner, couple of slight marks), sound, slip-case.

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