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Sir Harold Nicolson (Sir Harold George Nicolson) Biography

(1886–1968), (Sir Harold George Nicolson), Public Faces, Some People, Paul Verlaine, Byron, the Last Journey

British author, diplomat, and politician, born in Tehran where his father was serving with the British Legation, educated at Balliol College, Oxford. He held diplomatic postings in Europe and the Middle East from 1909 to 1929, drawing on his experiences of the diplomatic service in the satirical novel Public Faces (1932). During this period he produced Some People (1927), nine humorously fictionalized portraits of ‘real people in imaginary situations’, and several critical biographies, which include Paul Verlaine (1921) and Byron, the Last Journey (1924). He was Member of Parliament for West Leicester from 1935 to 1945. Among his later works are the biographies Curzon, the Last Phase (1934) and King George V: His Life and Reign (1952), and the urbanely witty essays of The English Sense of Humour (1947). Nicolson's Diaries and Letters (three volumes, 19668) were edited by his son Nigel Nicolson, author of Portrait of a Marriage (1973), an account of his father's unorthodox but ultimately well-founded relationship with Vita Sackville-West. There is a biography of Nicolson by James Lees-Milne (two volumes, 1980, 1981).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: New from Tartary to Frank O'connor