Monday, March 31, 2014
Revisiting Diana Cooper
I recently read Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to Her Son John Julius Norwich 1939-1952. (The book has not yet been released in the U.S., but you can do as I did and order it from the U.K.) At 465 pages, the book might seem like it would be a bit of a slog, but it really isn't. It's a brisk read that is delightful and entertaining. In fact, I'm now anxious to read Diana Cooper's autobiography, although that will have to wait until I plow through the waist-high stack of books next to my bed.
Darling Monster prompted me to revisit the 2006 publication, Rooms, which featured Derry Moore's 1984 photos of Cooper's London flat. I showed these photos on my blog many years ago, but it seems worthwhile to take another look as they capture the mementos- and attractive ones at that- of a life lived to the hilt. Although I appreciated these photos when I first saw them a number of years ago, I now have a greater understanding of some of the photos' details thanks to Darling Monster. For example, that seemingly incongruous yachting cap that Cooper is wearing in one of the photos? It seems that this wasn't a one-time occurrence; she referred to wearing just such a cap in a number of her letters to her son. And now I know that she wrote much of her correspondence from her bed, just as she seems to be doing in a different Moore photo.
While Diana Cooper's home might reflect her personality, it is her letters and written remembrances that truly capture it. If Diana Cooper's home piques your interest, then by all means consider reading Darling Monster.
To purchase a copy of Darling Monster, visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
All photos from Rooms by Carl Skoggard, Derry Moore photographer.