Considering my obsession with this period in history, and some of its tenants, I cannot believe it took me so long to find this book. I have heard, anecdotally, of the Bright Young People but I knew little about their specifics. Even with this marvelous history as a guide, they are still a fluid, amorphous bunch. Which I suppose was the point.
After WWI, the French turned to surrealism. America turned to jazz. The English, it seems, turned to their aristocracy-turned-high society. The inception of exorbitant inheritance taxes burdened the landed gentry — their parents. Older siblings returned from the war broken and confused. This lost generation needed an outlet, an escape, and above all to be heard. The result was stunning.
These fabulously wealthy twenty-somethings knew that time was fleeting, and made the most of it. Champagne flowed at parties that lasted until dawn. Scavenger hunts zigzagged the players all across London. And yet there was a deeper sadness that permeated their carousing. A sort of nostalgia in their own time.
Besides, it was not all frivolity. The great writer Evelyn Waugh was a bright young person. So too was the fantastic portrait photographer Cecil Beaton. This frenzied time produced self-assured artists.
This book chronicles the soirees and the stories of those who gave them in sparkling, sepia-toned perfection.
Bright Young People
The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age
D. J. Taylor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks, January 2010
ISBN: 978-0-374-53211-6, ISBN10: 0-374-53211-7, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages, 16 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations/10 Illustrations in Text/Appendix/Notes and References/Index

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