April 07, 2011

The light literature of Daisy Fellowes

Daisy Fellowes (1890-1962), heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune, is one of the major figures of the glamorous, stylish and elitist women of the 20th century. Married to  Prince de Broglie, she lost her husband in 1918 and get remarried the next year with the banker Reginald Fellowes, cousin of Winston Churchill. Queen of the upper class, Daisy Fellowes has a urbane sadism and  sure taste of a fortunate and charming woman. If she became a fashion myth (she was in 1933 editor in chief of Harper's Bazaar France), her writer skills did not received the same glory. Her best-know novel, Sundays, tells the adventures of Germaine, a young domestic employee, and of the banker Sylvestre Narbonneau, director of the Crédit du Sud-Ouest. The lighthearted style can make one smile. Here, the ending of the first chapter in which the two characters meet : 
She [Germaine] fast asleep and had a beautiful dream. Henri Narbonneau appeared to her in the guise of a black swan that hovered over her, shaking his feathers from which fell a shower of coins of fifty cents in gold.
The illustrations by Vertès, that contains the french publication by Les Editions de France in 1935, serve the exquisite and outdated tone of the book.

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • Vertès (Marcel) - Fellowes (Daisy). Les Dimanches de la Comtesse de Narbonne. Paris, Éditions de France, 1935, in-4, illustrated cover. Edition illustrated by  Vertès. Vellum copy.