Five Love Affairs and a Friendship

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474617413

Price: £22

ON SALE: 28th April 2022

Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

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Dazzlingly beautiful, highly intelligent and an extraordinary force of energy, Nancy Cunard was an icon of the Jazz Age, said to have inspired half the poets and novelists of the twenties. Born into a life of wealth and privilege, yet one in which she barely saw her parents, Nancy rebelled against expectations and pursued a life in the arts. She sought the constant company of artists, writers, poets and painters, first in London’s Soho and Mayfair, and then in the glamorous cafes of 1920s Paris.

This is the remarkable story of Nancy’s Paris life, filled with art, sex and alcohol. She became a muse to Wyndham Lewis, Constantin Brâncusi sculpted her, Man Ray photographed her and she played tennis with Ernest Hemingway. She had many love affairs, the most significant of which are included in this book: the American poet Ezra Pound, the novelists Aldous Huxley and Michael Arlen, the French poet Louis Aragon and finally and controversially the black American pianist Henry Crowder, with whom she ran her printing press in Paris. She was also shaped by her lifelong friendship with George Moore, her mother’s lover.

This tempestuous tale of passion and intrigue is as much a portrait of twenties Paris as it is the story of an extraordinary woman who defined her age.


Riveting ... As de Courcy says in her enjoyable, deftly written book, it is hard to find a label for this remarkable woman. Selfish lover, alcoholic, campaigner - they all fit
Highly readable
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, DAILY MAIL
De Courcy brilliantly recreates the heady spirit of Cunard's Paris: Montparnasse, the Lindbergh flight, Shakespeare & Co, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, and the Missouri-born dancer Josephine Baker, who performed naked save for a flamingo feather ... De Courcy, a biographer of Diana Mosley and Margot Asquith and the author of Chanel's Riviera is an expert guide to this world. You feel she really might have been there at the cafés, bars and boîtes
Laura Freeman, THE TIMES
A racily enjoyable book . . . As the venerable author of studies of Diana Mosley, Margot Asquith and Coco Chanel, de Courcy commands this historical field and fills what is at bottom a tragic story of self-centred and self-destructive behaviour with a wealth of amusing anecdote and salacious detail
Rupert Christiansen, DAILY TELEGRAPH
A seductive portrait of life lived to the fullest
A fulsome portrait of a quixotic, disruptive, talented woman
This bed-hopping biography by de Courcy does an excellent job conveying the reckless, decadent Jazz Age in Paris