AN Wilson Is A Shit
August 28, 2006 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Loathe as I am to add to the centennial ubiquity of the late laureate, I can't help but wonder: who is the Betjemaniac prankster Mme de Harben? And why does she think that biographer AN Wilson is a shit?
posted by jack_mo (10 comments total)
See also: Some poems, and a fine Wikipedia entry.
posted by jack_mo at 7:08 AM on August 28, 2006

I'm glad someone posted this. My bet is on a friend of Hillier's, with Hillier maintaining sufficient distance for deniability.
Darling Honor,

I loved yesterday.
All day, I've thought of nothing else. No other love I've had means so much. Was it just an aberration on your part, or will you meet me at Mrs Holmes's again - say on Saturday? I won't be able to sleep until I have your answer.

Love has given me a miss for so long, and now this miracle has happened. Sex is a part of it, of course, but I have a Romaunt of the Rose feeling about it too. On Saturday we could have lunch at Fortt's, then go back to Mrs H's. Never mind if you can't make it then. I am free on Sunday too or Sunday week. Signal me tomorrow as to whether and when you can come.

Anthony Powell has written to me, and mentions you admiringly. Some of his comments about the Army are v funny. He's somebody I'd like to know better when the war is over. I find his letters funnier than his books. Tinkerty-tonk, my darling. I pray I'll hear from you tomorrow. If I don't I'll visit your office in a fake beard.

All love, JB
posted by pracowity at 7:38 AM on August 28, 2006

[But shouldn't that be 'loath'?]
posted by pracowity at 7:49 AM on August 28, 2006

My sister (who was taught by Wilson at Oxford, and babysat for him) was quite sure that it was the first Mrs Wilson, also an English don, with, apparently, a wicked sense of humour.
posted by alloneword at 7:52 AM on August 28, 2006

Right, I don't think you solve town planning problems by dropping bombs all over the place, he's embarrassed himself there.
posted by Nahum Tate at 8:12 AM on August 28, 2006

This is a wonderful hoax, and shows a good deal of psychological insight. Wilson loves gossip, and doesn't always bother to check his sources carefully -- so it's not surprising he fell straight into the trap.

A lot of people have good reason to hate A.N. Wilson -- which is, of course, what makes this such a good hoax: as in Murder on the Orient Express, everyone has a motive .. The first Mrs Wilson is said to be on good terms with her ex-husband, so she seems an unlikely suspect. However, I visited Oxford a few months ago, and some of her copies of his novels, inscribed to her, were on sale in the local charity shop -- so, who knows, maybe they've quarrelled, and this is her revenge.
posted by verstegan at 8:59 AM on August 28, 2006

[But shouldn't that be 'loath'?]

Yes, yes it should. I am an idiot.

posted by jack_mo at 8:59 AM on August 28, 2006

A typed copy, with an invalid return address, and he published it? I hope A.N. Wilson doesn't get many emails from Nigeria or he'll be broke in no time.
posted by malevolent at 9:37 AM on August 28, 2006

Right, I don't think you solve town planning problems by dropping bombs all over the place

From Executive:
I do some mild developing. The sort of place I need
Is a quiet country market town that's rather run to seed
A luncheon and a drink or two, a little savoir faire -
I fix the Planning Officer, the Town Clerk and the Mayor.

And if some Preservationist attempts to interfere
A 'dangerous structure' notice from the Borough Engineer
Will settle any buildings that are standing in our way -
The modern style, sir, with respect, has really come to stay.
posted by pracowity at 11:23 AM on August 28, 2006

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