After 75 years, Mitford’s controversial lost novel has been brought back to life. Despite its engaging, PG Wodehouse-style examination of social class, love and marriage, Mitford disapproved of its re-publication, observing to Evelyn Waugh that ‘too much has happened for jokes about Nazis to be regarded as funny or anything but the worst of taste’. A novel that so frivolously pokes fun at fascism, and expresses an astounding admiration for Hitler – ‘A splendid fellow too, although I’m not sure he doesn’t carry things a shade far sometimes’ – was never going to be in the best of taste.
Wigs on the Green is an intoxicating mix of pretty absurdities and farce, with heroines prone to fantastical flights of fancy, foppish, plotting gentleman, antiquated aristocrats and the peripheral yet pervading presence of war – Middlemarch, high on champagne and Viagra. Penguin is set to re-issue four other Mitford classics, complete with introductions from literary glitterati such as Zoë Heller and Sophie Dahl.