Marcel proust

Chips Channon’s diaries can read like a drunken round of Consequences

Most of the grander 20th-century diarists had a sniffy air about them, looking down their noses at everyone, particularly each other. Henry ‘Chips’ Channon, so snippety in his own diaries, was sniped at in others’. James Lees-Milne thought him ‘a flibbertigibbet’; to Nancy Mitford, he was ‘vain and spiteful and silly’. Kenneth Rose confided to his diary that Channon was ‘a rather stupid man’. When the bowdlerised Channon diaries were first published in 1967, edited by Robert Rhodes James, Rose could not disguise his thrill at how badly they had gone down in his own smart set. At a ‘luncheon party given by Raine Dartmouth at her pretty house in