The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 25, 2017

June 25, 1923

Nicholas Mosley (June 25, 1923 to February 28, 2017) British writer, has had movies made from his novels.

Impossible Object (1968), which one critic likened to a crossword puzzle and which was filmed by John Frankenheimer as Story of a Love Story (1973), was shortlisted for the first Booker prize, in 1969. A later novel, Hopeful Monsters, the fifth part of the Catastrophe Practice series, became the Whitbread book of the year in 1990.

His Guardian obituary continues:

In the 50s ...[Nicholas Mosley] entered a religious phase influenced by Father Raymond Raynes, superior of the Anglican Community of the Resurrection. In 1961 he wrote a biography of Raynes. He followed it with Experience and Religion: A Lay Essay in Theology (1964). Although he did not use the title, in 1966 he succeeded to the Ravensdale barony on the death of his aunt Irene.

Mosley's essays and nonfiction will perhaps last longer than his fiction. Though this is hardly the level of paradox to which Nicholas Mosley pointed when he wrote -

"[H]ow often this experiment [Schrodinger's Cat] is trotted out by apologists for paradox!" But apologist for paradox is one way to describe the biography for which Mosley may be best remembered, that of his father, Oswald Mosley, who founded the British Union of Fascists. 

In 1938 it was only from newspaper headlines that Nicholas learned of his father’s remarriage, one reading: Hitler Was Sir Oswald’s Best Man. Oswald and Diana had married in Germany in Joseph Goebbels’s house two years previously, but had kept it secret even after the birth of their first son, Alexander. Nicholas chose to tell friends at Eton that it was a press invention. To his father he wrote that he was upset at the secrecy. “I am longing to have a talk with you about what you feel about Mummy and Diana.” ....

In 1940 Oswald and Diana were arrested and interned, and their children, including the newborn Max, were separated from them. Oswald had been expounding his belief that, if left alone, Hitler would ignore Britain and concentrate on defeating the Soviet Union. His son recalled that, at the time, he thought his father “a politician less lunatic than most”. But few others in Britain agreed, many viewing Oswald’s utterances as treasonable. In the Rifle Brigade, later during the second world war, on being introduced, Nicholas was often greeted: “Not any relation of that bastard?”...

Nicholas was demobbed early as he had a scholarship awaiting him from Balliol. He decided to read philosophy, but was disappointed to find that in Oxford in the 40s philosophy was historical, meaning Descartes, Hume and Kant. He stayed at Oxford for just a year, feeling that he would have to work things out for himself. There he courted Rosemary Salmond, who was “someone who seemed to be in tune with my feeling that it was the world that was half over the edge, but that she and I might be able to hang on by my fingertips”....

...[At] the end of Oswald’s life, when he had Parkinson’s disease and had finally quit politics, ...[he and his son] were reconciled. A week before his death in 1980, he decided his son should be his biographer, with access to all the Mosley papers. Nicholas knew that his father believed he would tell the truth as he saw it. The two volumes of biography were published as The Rules of the Game (1982) and Beyond the Pale (1983). Following Oswald’s death, Nicholas also inherited his baronetcy.

Nicholas Mosley...somehow...seemed to have found a way to admire and love him as a father, without sharing his views or excusing his faults.

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