Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Patrick Leigh Fermor’s enviably colorful life took off when in 1934, at the age of eighteen, he decided to walk across Europe. In just over a year he had trekked through nine countries and taught himself three languages, and his enthusiasm and curiosity for every kind of experience made him equally happy in caves or country houses, among shepherds or countesses.
At the outbreak of war he left his lover, Princess Balasha Cantacuzene, in Romania and returned to England to enlist. Commissioned into the Intelligence Corps, he became one of the handful of Allied officers supporting the Cretan resistance to the German occupation. In 1944 he commanded the Anglo-Cretan team that abducted General Heinrich Kreipe and spirited him away to Egypt.
A journey to the Caribbean, stays in monasteries, and explorations all over Greece provided the subjects for his first books. It was not until he and his wife had moved to southern Greece that he returned to his earliest walk. In these books, which took many years to write, he created a vision of a prewar Europe, which in its beauty and abundance has never been equaled.
Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Leigh Fermor and his closest friends, and has had complete access to his archive. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts—no one wore their learning so playfully nor inspired such passionate friendship.
Silvius Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II. ‘The little albergo-trattoria looked snug enough. But it was March, when a wind from Siberia blows into the Tuscan hills, and in a day or two, fingers were turning to icicles; no question of holding a pen; so I went to the bar and found it full of woodsmoke and dramatically cloaked herdsmen from the Abruzzi drinking grappa at high speed; it was the only thing to do.’ When he returned, the landlady said she had put ‘a priest’ in his bed – which proved to be
into Epirus. I’ve already filled several notebooks, and it’s pretty unusual material, most of it, which I don’t think has been covered before. Joan’s photographs are splendid. I think that it ought to turn out a pretty interesting book. Joan returns to England for a month, during which time I may retire somewhere to write a chapter or two. Murray’s Guide [to Greece], for which many thanks, will be most useful. Do you think you could discover one for Turkey, to cover those parts of Macedonia,
287–8, 291–3 Kavanagh, Patrick, 280 Kazanlik, Bulgaria, 83 Kee, Robert, 214, 280–1, 309, 388 Kendall, Mila, 90 Kendall, Tony, 90–1, 215 Kenward, Patricia (née Eyres Monsell): death, 314n Khayatt, Mrs, 168 Khnarakis, Grigori, 164, 172, 179 Kildare Hunt Ball, 280–1 King’s School, Canterbury: PLF attends, 20–7; expels PLF, 27; PLF discusses with Maugham, 297 Kinross, Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron: in Gargoyle Club, 32; in wartime Cairo, 200; at Gadencourt, 231; recommends Chagford to PLF,
over Orliako bridge, 378 Royal Marsden Hospital, London, 359 Royal Society of Literature, 256 Rumania: invades Hungary (1919), 62; PLF travels in, 66–75, 86–8; anti-Semitism, 88; PLF and Balasha return to, 107–9, 117, 119; PLF learns language, 119; as Soviet satellite, 215–16; PLF revisits, 328–30, 370–1, 379–80; oppressive regime, 371; revolution (1989), 380 Runciman, (Sir) Steven, 80–1, 206, 208–9, 213 Running Horse (pub), Davies Street, London, 34 Russell, Alec, 380 Rustchuk (Ruse),
summer of 1947, Paddy was looking for a publisher who might give him an advance on the book he still planned to write on Greece. Peter Quennell introduced him to the Cornhill’s owner and publisher John Grey Murray, known to his friends as Jock. The firm of John Murray had been founded in 1768, Jock being the sixth to bear the name in direct descent. The second John Murray had published Jane Austen, Walter Scott and Byron; while the third had published Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.