The Brightest of the Bright Young People

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Last year I read D.J. Taylor’s Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age and developed fascination with several of its members. Stephen Tennant, Elizabeth Ponsonby, Nancy Mitford, Cecil Beaton and the others all led extraordinary lives; although Tennant spent much of his time in bed, he did have a love affair with war poet Siegfried Sassoon. By all accounts Tennant’s life was unique, his great aspiration was to be a great beauty. Photographer Cecil Beaton routinely captured Tennant’s striking features. All of the Bright Young People made a name for themselves: Beaton was a photographer for Vogue, Nancy Mitford was a novelist, Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward were arguably the most well known. The least accomplished members have the most compelling stories.

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