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Serious Pleasures: Life of Stephen Tennant Hardcover – 28 Jun 1990

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd; First edition (28 Jun. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241124166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241124161
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 0.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 468,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came to this biography of the Honourable Stephen Tennant via Philip Hoare's later, 'warts and all' biography of Noel Coward, which impressed so much by being so much less obsequious compared to another biography of 'The Master' that I'd read. I saw his first attempt at biography had been this one of Tennant, a notable 1920s society figure and by far the brightest of the 'Bright Young Things'. I was intrigued, especially when I heard that Tennant was the model for the doomed Sebastien Flyte in Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited'. Still, I couldn't find it on sale anywhere, until I found a copy on eBay on sale in the US: I purchased it and it promptly failed to arrive. Later, I noticed that Hoare had written the essay for a photo memoir of Pet Shop Boys, then later still heard their 'Bright Young Things' song, which name-checked various Brideshead-era lumineries, including Nancy (Mitford) and the instruction to 'pose for Stephen's camera..' Finally, I tracked down a copy of this memoir on Amazon and have not been disappointed. Whereas Stephen may not have been the exact inspiration of Sebastien, there's certainly echoes of him in that character, particularly his attachment to his Nanny, his angelic beauty and riding around in a gilt and glass Edwardian carriage. This is an exuberant biography of a larger-than-life character, a sort of monied, aristocratic version of Quentin Crisp: flamboyant, always perfumed and made-up, a man on speaking terms with the literary and social greats of his day (WW1 poet Siegfried Sassoon - his great love - the Sitwells, EM Forster, Virginia Woolf, Cecil Beaton et al). Hoare has had access to many people's remembrances and diaries, most notably perhaps the Queen Mum (!) but benefits from the fact that Stephen had a very close friend in the form of Cecil Beaton.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quite simply the most captivating biography I have ever read. Reading Philip Hoare is like cosying up on a luxurious sofa and being exclusively confided in by an entertaining yet all-knowing friend.
Stephen Tennant was a fascinating and unique personality living an enchanted life with connections to many icons of the age. One of those rare books that you want never to end and worth it's weight in gold.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I only meant to read the introduction but as the writing style flows so well I was into it before I realised . Well researched but , thankfully, not overly so. Just a very captivating read - I have waited a long time to get my hands on a copy and it was well worth the wait.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been searching for a book on Stephen Tennant for a while. I could not put this book down when it arrived. Lovely pictures place you at the scene and you can relive the life of this eccentric man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a truly magical character the epitome of the 1920s 30s i would have paid double the price written by the great philip hoare responsible for the magical noel coward lifestory i have seen this book on sale for the region of £100 and i would not have felt robbed had i paid it tried to get it from my local library but the single copy in the nottingham district people will not let go if you buy just one book in your life make it STEPHEN TENNANT SERIOUS PLEASURES
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Format: Hardcover
This my favourite book. Aside from the fascinating subject, Hoare's irresistible writing style lulls you into a delicious dream-like world. Not a misplaced word or phrase, effortless reading from start to finish, bravo!
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