Saturday, June 7, 2014

Asquith Diaries

I'm very tempted by this book at the moment, Margot Asquith's Great War Diaries. I haven't succumbed just yet as I've bought a few books lately & really don't need any more. Margot was the second wife of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith who was PM from 1908-1916. Margot, therefore, was right there at the centre of politics at this crucial time.

This morning, as I was dusting the study, I was thinking about Margot & remembered that I had an Asquith diary on the tbr shelves. Lady Cynthia was the stepdaughter-in-law of Margot, being married to the PM's son, Herbert. I bought this second hand copy years ago &, on opening it up at random, was very encouraged to see this entry from March 11th 1915,

A lot more snow fell. The weather is most depressing. I frowsted all morning. I have been re-reading Jane Eyre with tremendous enjoyment. I still find Rochester irresistible ... I suppose I ought to have outgrown his charm.

I like Cynthia already! This edition was published in 1968, with an Introduction by the novelist L P Hartley. I was intrigued by this comment from the blurb,

She wrote with the bewildering fullness of a still-leisured age - and very, very frankly, so that even now many excisions have been made for reasons other than length, before it was possible to publish this selection.

What has been left out? Has a fuller "selection" ever been published in the 46 years since first publication?? I must investigate! Wouldn't it be interesting to read these two diaries side by side as they cover practically the same period? Can you tell I'm talking myself into making a little purchase? Don't worry, if I succumb, I'll confess all.


  1. I am caught by that extract and now wish to read the book...truly hooked
    am now waiting to see if you find a more complete publication :0)

    1. There was a paperback edition published in the 1980s but it looks as though it was just a reprint of this one. I found a review by Randolph Churchill (son of Winston) & he says the book is badly edited & the index is hopeless! Nicola Beauman of Persephone wrote a biography of Lady C so that's another book to add to the wishlist.