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Alison Moffatt December 11, 2005
I am trying to get hold of a copy of "Fouteen Friends" for my mother-in-law Jane Moore, who was at one time one of Murrays editors, there is a copy available second hand through Amazon but at £66 it seems furiosly expensive. I would so appreciate any thoughts on this or advice!

John Barratt November 5, 2005
So, the final volume, and a tribute to James that even its last entry raised a smile amidst the sadness.I think of him now in a specially adapted corner of heaven (perhaps a rather more elaborate version of Chatsworth?), surrounded with Alvilde and all those departed friends of past years, partaking of a delicious luncheon, and quaffing the "Milk of Paradise". And now to start those "diaries" all over again....

angela pullan-wells October 31, 2005
I discovered J L-M in the year of his death 1997. looking for something completely different I recognized his name from other biographies and thought I'd give him a try. Immediately hooked I now have all his diaries, and various other works. I am halfway through ' The Milk Of Paradise' and am dreading finishing ,it I will miss him so much. Thank you Michael Bloch for your work in editing the remaining diaries, I look forward to the biography, and any other work of yours [perhaps you could sneak it into the website, or perhaps you have your own that I don't know about,]

John E Vigar Website October 25, 2005
The Milk of Paradise is a wonderful volume. As usual with these diaries I just haven`t been able to put it down. Now that I`ve finished it I`m now going right back to the beginning and starting the whole series again. My `desert island `books without a doubt.

Dr Peter Reid October 25, 2005
Have just finished the Milk of Paradise and immediately started re-reading it. What a poignant conclusion to the diaries. Michael, you have done a sterling job in editing these later diaries and the great man would surely be proud of your efforts. Thank you.

Pip Farnsworth October 24, 2005
Here is a link to Gary Conklin's site;

Donella Coker October 22, 2005
I have been an enraptured reader of the diaries since their first publication. Congratulations to you Michael Bloch for your continuance. I await eagerly the biography. I would dearly love to possess a set of the diaries.

Brian Marlow October 15, 2005
It's just arrived.The final diary.At last.Another interesting adventure for me and a too soon ending of a fascinating life.But at least the biog yet to come and a honeypot of dipping into those past volumes.

Gail Pirkis September 30, 2005
Admirers of James Lees-Milne's writings may like to know that, to celebrate publication of the final volume of diaries this autumn, Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader's Quarterly will be publishing two articles about JLM in the winter issue, one by John Saumarez Smith, the other by his former editor Grant McIntyre. If you would like to order a copy of the issue please call Slightly Foxed on 0207 549 2111.

Pip Farnsworth August 23, 2005
Here is the precis of "The Milk of Paradise" from the John Murray website;

Maren Caldwell August 12, 2005
What is it about the diaries that captures the heart and urges one to read more? I think I wish I knew.I bought a copy of Ceaseless Turmoil in Edinburgh yesterday and deserve at least one gold medal for not starting it until this evening. May we hear more about Alvilde? She is a passing reference in the biographies of so many others, and I hope the biography will address this.

David Platzer August 6, 2005
On JL-M's 97th birthday, bravo for this hugely enjoyable website, worthy of its subject. It is reassuring to think that JL-M who must have seemed a dark horse in comparison to more precocious contemporaries is now among the most prominent figures of his remarkable generation.

Wendy Marshall May 29, 2005
Ashamed to say that I have only just heard of JLM (but some excuse as was out of the country for 20years).However, I stumbled across his name at the end of Jeremy Paxman's piece in the Telegraph yesterday where P. was advertising the show due to be staged again on 23rd June. I instantly caught the name Lees-Milne as this is a name I have been trying to trace for almost a year now. I am in possession of some diaries written by an Edwardian young lady (1904-1913). She was very friendly with Helen, JLM's mother, and often visited them in Evesham. She was also J's proxy godmother and there are several snippets in her diaries mentioning the family and her visits there and other social occasions she shared with the Lees-Milnes. So interesting. Am now on a mission to read everything I can get my hands on and especially look forward to the biography.

Megan Sovik April 29, 2005
I read the first of the diaries Christmas 2004 prompited by extensive reading on the Mitford family in whose lives JLM is frequently mentioned. My husband has become as interested as me and for the last 4 months we have scarcely read anything else. Great reading and excellent editing by Michael Bloch of the last diaries.

Anne Hillman April 23, 2005
How soon the J.L-M biography, please? Have vague memory, aged about six, of seeing him at funeral of my god-father, Oldham solicitor, in the 1930s, very aloof.

Sven Drew April 14, 2005
JL-M must rank with many outlawed substances as being instantly addictive. Halfway through 'Ceaseless Turmoil' and I fear my reading for 2005 is already pre-ordained. Would appreciate any kind words of advice.

Rosemary de Meyrick March 21, 2005
I find I am addicted to the compelling voice of an almost vanished era. I find all the writing of J. L-M. strangely comforting, as if a parent were speaking. Can't wait for your biog. Best wishes from far-off Australia. Rosemary de Meyrick

Sherman Yellen Website March 17, 2005
Ever since I first came across a review of the diaries in the New York Review of Books I have been collecting and reading the works of James Lees Milne, a man previously unknown to me. I am currently reading the last volume of the diaries released in 2005. Although I think the first two diaries of the war years are a masterpiece, and the others vary in interest (a bit too many dinner parties with the tiresomely titled) he has been a splendid companion, his wit, humor, and stoicism, are a great guide to getting on and going on. The wit and the charm JLM brings to the everyday personal life is a pleasure for this devoted reader. I am eager to read the Michael Bloch biography. Mr. Bloch, this seventy three year old playwright requests that you get it published soon.

Sue Bartle March 1, 2005
I have recently finished reading Ceasless Turmoil, and just like his earlier diaries I find them difficult to put down, that is till I get near the final pages, when I consciously slow down not wanting to come to the end. Especially enjoyable have been the recent diaries as one can relate to the people and times. Also I live about half way between Badminton and Bath, so this is of added interest. It is good to know so many people are still discovering his writings. May the younger generations soon be among them. Sue.

Gill Chichester January 30, 2005
Many thanks to Michael Bloch for his marvellous editing of JL-M's diaries. It is indeed a shame that JL-M's modesty about his writings and his self doubt was so misplaced but one can't help thinking that he would have hated the sort of fame he deserved, with press camped on his doorstep and his famous jaunts to London dogged by paparazzi, for this surely would have happened. Michael, please alert us to any possibility of a follow-up to Ceaseless Turmoil and many thanks for your wonderful work. Jim's army of devoted readers grows by the day and having found him, we are loth to let him go! My father's birthday is 6th August so I feel an affinity with him. Thank you Michael

paul ponjaert January 28, 2005
As far as I am concerned reading the Jl-M diaries has become an addiction.The footnotes are little gems:why no footnote on Domenic de Grunne in the last volume?.As a Belgian I am interested in this franco-belgian family.

Brian marlow January 24, 2005
Knowing as they did that JLM Kept a diary and often recorded his friends views and prejudices, is it not likely that some,perhaps many, tailored their views with this in mind or did they just not care i wonder? Did the author ever record that possibility?.He cetainly got criticism from some because he spilt the beans.

Michael Reading January 20, 2005
I am reading the J L-M diaries again as I have all eleven editions purchased as they were published from 1975 onwards. "Ancestral Voices" cost £6.00 Part of the entry for Saturday 10 April 1943 reads "...I would like this diary to enterain two or three generations ahead when I am under the sod..." It would seem that his wish has been fulfilled.

Graham Busby January 16, 2005
JL-M had encounters with A.L.Rowse, the subject of a discussion between Raleigh Trevelyan, also known, and Richard Ollard at the 2003 Daphne du Maurier Festival of Literature and Arts, Fowey. Is a book launch of Michael's biography possible at the 2006 Festival?

Peter Watts Website January 8, 2005
(Sydney, Australia) Just returned from Christmas holidays to find Ceaseless Turmoil has arrived. I began reading it as I was unpacking the car. What joy. Another few days of immersion in JLM's brilliant writing is now possible. And to find a website also. What would JLM say about that?

David Frieze January 7, 2005
I discovered James Lees-Milne's published diaries a couple of years and have been working my way (delightedly) through them in roughly reverse chronological order. The slightly twee nicknames fall oddly on an American ear, but the writing is so admirable, the observations are so acute and the self-revelation is so frank that any qualms about his snobbishness (and there are worse things to be than a snob) can be easily overcome.

Brenda Ryan January 3, 2005
I have just finished reading 'Ceaseless Turmoil' - please let there be more - and saw the play in Ludlow last year. Wonderful - quite the highlight of the Ludlow Festival. Looking forward to the biography,of course. I find introducing others to the delights of JL-M, to their unfailing joy, a worthwhile exercise.

James McIlroy January 1, 2005
Mr Bloch, Just discovered this website from your footnote in "Ceaseless Turmoil" and am truly delighted by it. Many thanks indeed for putting in so much work on our behalf. As with the others who have written here I am looking forward immensely to your biography of J L-M which cannot be published soon enough. I wonder too if there is a subsequent volume of diaries to be produced or has the line ended with "Ceaseless Turmoil"? It would be very exciting to thik that there was yet another of these enchanting books to appear. Thanks again to you -- and good wishes for 2005. J McIlroy

marina t. somers December 30, 2004
Mr. Bloch: Plaudits to you on all of amazed by it all, and am now in the midst of "Ceaseless Turmoil" addictive as eating peanuts...have read every word written by him...and I can only say, I so wish I had the pleasure of spending even a few minutes in his company....By the way, how does one obtain a copy of the Gary Conklin film? Looking forward to your biography...cheers, MTS

Mark Hayward December 20, 2004
The diaries are a constant delight. Such unspairing honesty and, in later years, forensic in their dissection of old age and what that brings. A truly remarkable man lives on through them. Thank you for this site. Like many others I await the Michael Bloch biography and, alas and alack, the final volume of the diaries

Peter Clark November 28, 2004
Reading page 60 of Ceaseless Turmoil I was surprised to learn that Lady Halfax was formerly one Camilla Parker-Bowles. This seemed surprising until I got to page 170 and discovered that there were two Camillas (one nee Younger and one nee Shand) married to two Parker Bowleses (one Richard, one Andrew) Are the two P-Bs brothers?

Aart van Kruiselbergen November 4, 2004
In the late summer of 1990 Eardley Knollys - a friend of many years - told me he wanted to bring JLM to stay with us here at Cortijo Puerto Llano. Having read and admired the Nicolson biography and Ancestral Voices, Prophesying Peace, Caves of Ice and Midway on the Waves I was very keen to meet JLM, but obviously also somewhat nervous to have him stay as a house guest. However, soon after we met at Málaga Airport my apprehension was dispelled. It was soon clear that he was going to be the best possible company and that he had a tremendous sense of humour. During the next 10 days there was much laughter and Jim's and Eardley's recollections of so many people they had known and places they had visited during their lives were fascinating beyond belief. The sort of after-dinner conversation that would have made an excellent t.v. programme. It is such a pleasure to read in the latest volume of the Diaries (Ceaseless Turmoil, 2nd - 10 oCT. 1990)that Jim seemed to have enjoyed his stay here. A happy memory. I want to thank Michael Bloch for the great work he is doing in editing and publishing the diaries and I very much look forward to reading JLM's life he is now writing.

Candia McWilliam October 28, 2004
Thank you for your website; its existence so surprised and pleased me on a bleak autumnal evening. I remember JLM well and miss him very much; only this morning I and a friend learned to our surprise and pleasure that it is to JLM that we turn when in need of jokes and or consolation. And how exciting taht there is a Beckfordiana website.

Andy Whysall October 25, 2004
Saw Ancestral Voices at the Georgian Theatre Royal at Richmond, N Yorks, at the weekend. Wonderful. Moray Watson was a revelation of skill and utter professionalism and he made the perfectly scripted diaries come alive. Interestingly there were three people sitting close (very close in this theatre) to us who had known "Jim" pretty well and they were amused at a level of sanitation they perceived in the characterisation - which made the performance doubly interesting.

Michael Davidson-Paine September 5, 2004
Thank you for a most enjoyable site, I discovered the writing of James Lees-Milne two years ago, and re- read his diaries when I need reassurance in this world of political correctness!

William Grant July 13, 2004
As I have read 90% of all his books, this website brings even more wonderful information about him. There is a small cell here in California that has read most of his work and talks about it as we occasionally meet. Some of us were lucky to meet him in his garden at Badminton.

John Barratt June 16, 2004
Thank you Michael Bloch for this excellent site devoted to a gentleman whose writings are among my firm favourites. Civilised, erudite and lovable.Would that he were still with us to record his dairy comments on being the subject of a website....

Brian Lake May 8, 2004
Congratulations on a brilliant website. I read, and re-read, the diaries regularly so that JL-M sems like an old friend. The latest volume was a delightful surprise and of course I look forward to the biography.

Jean Machell April 15, 2004
Thank you Michael Bloch for that prompt answer to my question. Yes I can quite understand JL-M's reasons for selling but regrets still remain for losing his papers to the States. Why is it that our own country does not recognise the importance of its own chroniclers of the twentieth century. Eric Gill's papers, for example, and much of his sculpture,went to a university in Texas.

David Claytor April 14, 2004
Thank you, Michael Bloch, for this excellent site and the latest diaries. It is touching to see and hear the man we have so admired through his writings, and to follow the links to John Betjeman, etc. The recent 'Beneath a Waning Moon' led me on to 'The Enigmatic Edwardian', a fine read and an instructive history lesson! I look forward to the biography, not least to learn more about the rather mysterious Alvilde. Alec Guiness, too, was obviously a fan of James L-M, judging from the references in his 'Journal, 1996-1998'.

Michael Bloch April 14, 2004
Quite apart from the fact that no English institution showed the slightest interest in buying or even receiving JLM’s papers, there are many advantages in having one’s archives taken by an American university. The conditions in which they are preserved are splendid, as are the conditions in which they can be consulted. Although physically inaccessible to those in the UK, their catalogues can be read on the internet (see link at base of this site), and photocopies are cheaply and speedily available. JLM wished to disburden himself of his papers in his lifetime; being a man of modest means, he saw no reason not to sell them; and he could not have found a better home for them than the Beinecke Library at Yale, where I shall be completing my own reading of them later this month.

Jean Machell April 13, 2004
Why did James Lees-Milne sell his papers to an American university? I would have thought that he would have preferred an English establishment. I understand from his latest published diaries that he was advised to do so by by Michael Bloch, but the reasoning behind this decision is not given. Enlightenment please.

Richard Camp March 29, 2004
We enormously enjoyed the production of `Ancestral Voices in Malvern - sitting on the row behind Michael Bloch. We are enormously grateful to him for directing the play, as for his learned illuminating and erudite annotations of the diaries. In the 1974 preface to `Ancestral Voices', Lees-Milne states that he was obliged to omit some of his architectural descriptions of buildings. Do these deleted passages still exist in MS? Is there any chance of the full MSS being published one day? I cannot be the only person to relish the architectural descriptions more than the gossip... Many thanks, Richard Camp

Professor Sir Stephen Murgatroyd December 20, 2003
What a fascinating and intriguing man JLM was - a one off in many respects. Certainly up there with Pepys as a great diarist.

Brian Marlow December 7, 2003
I happened to be in bath november last year and took myself off to lansdowne crescent,so fascinated was i reading his diaries.It was early evening and dark and i stood on his doorstep taking in what was so familiar to him.Imagining J L-M peering at me from his window wondering what the hell i wanted.Behaviour which is foreign to me but such is the power of the man and his descriptions of the Beckford library that it was irresistible.Skulking on doorsteps.Well i take no blame,it's his fault.

Graham Busby November 10, 2003
A possible answer to my earlier question, 'why did he not receive any public honours', is considered by Hugh Massingberd in his excellent "Daydream Believer" - well worth reading...

Pip Farnsworth November 7, 2003
As a newcomer to James Lees-Milne, this Site has been a wonderful resource. Having limbered up on "People and Places" and "Another Self" I am just about to start on the Diaries.

Jonathan Fryer October 5, 2003
Having at last finished Firbank, I can offer myself the pleasure of looking at unrelated websites. Most enjoyable, Michael! Bravo!

Teddy Kristiansen September 23, 2003
This was SUCH a joy to suddenly find this site.I have loved his books for a while now and then to find this with the publication of a new book.As other have asked;Any date on the biography?

Hilary Locke September 11, 2003
Glad to have found this iste - have been a fan of JLM since reading Ancestral voices. Heard review of Ancient as the Hills on A Good Read (Radio 4)

Jean Machell August 17, 2003
Correction- it wasn't Ancestral Voices I heard on the radio, it was Another Self.


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This site has been created by Michael Bloch, James Lees-Milne's literary executor, who is currently editing his later diaries and writing his biography (to be published by John Murray). He may be contacted at

Many of James Lees-Milne's papers are in the Beinecke Library at Yale. Their catalogue can be accessed here

James Lees-Milne's copyrights are managed by Bruce Hunter of David Higham Associates, London. Enquiries may be addressed to him at