By Richard Davenport-Hines
Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Profumo scandal, An English Affair is a sharp-focused picture of a state on the point of social revolution. Britain in 1963 – Harold Macmillan was once the top Minister of a Conservative executive, devoted to culture, hierarchy and, primarily, out of date morality. yet a breakdown of social barriers observed nightclub hostesses blending with aristocrats, and middle-class execs dabbling in illegal activity. in the meantime, chilly battle paranoia gripped the general public mind's eye. The Profumo Affair was once an ideal hurricane, and whilst it broke it rocked the institution. In 'An English Affair', the writer of the critically-acclaimed 'Titainic Lives' Richard Davenport-Hines brings Swinging London to existence. the solid of gamers contains the normal – louche health practitioner Stephen Ward, good-time ladies Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, and Secretary for struggle John Profumo himself. yet we additionally come upon the tabloid hacks, estate builders and hangers-on whose roles have, beforehand, by no means been totally published. intercourse, medications, category, race, chequebook journalism and the felony underworld – the Profumo Affair had all of it. this can be the tale of the way Sixties England put off respectability and fell in love with scandal.
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Extra resources for An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo
From this standpoint, one page of Montaigne, a single Verlaine poem, or one sentence by Proust is far more anti-Communist than the accusing choir which you represent. They are free and therefore they are liberating. And last, the fourth reproach: genuinely ambitious art (these reproaches are directed only at creators with high aspirations, at those who do not deny the name of artists) must be in advance of its time, it must be the art of tomorrow. How is one to reconcile this wonderful task with reality, that is, with today?
I said that today’s Poland is a piece of stale bread which breaks into two halves with a snap: the believing and the nonbelieving. After returning home I thought that the above passages were worthy of scrutiny. That ‘‘faith in faith,’’ that strong accent on an act of will which ‘‘creates faith,’’ that retreat from faith into the region where it is created, this is something that really addresses me. Plus: what sort of position am I to take regarding Catholicism? I am not thinking of my strictly artistic work, because there one does not select positions or bases.
34 Volume 1 Saturday Engineer L. invited me to the meeting of a certain Catholic society. About twenty people and a monk. A short prayer was said, after which L. read passages from Simone Weil in his own very good, from what I could judge, translation. A discussion followed. As always at such meetings, I was struck at ﬁrst glance by the lamentable technical drawbacks of this undertaking. Simone Weil is difﬁcult, dense, loaded with internal experience. One has to return to many of her thoughts over and over again.