In this remarkable book, Harold Acton writes a witty and vivid account of his first thirty-five years of his life from his boyhood among the international colony of dilettanti in Florence before the First World War, to his maturity when he discovered his spiritual home in Peking before the old Chinese culture was destroyed. Between the two, he was one of the brilliant generation up at Oxford just after the war and afterwards moved to Paris where he knew many of the literary and artistic figures of the time. It is an outstanding memoir, rightly regarded as a classic.
Harold Acton (1904-1994) was a writer, scholar and aesthete who listed as his principal recreation 'hunting the philistines'. From the balcony of his Oxford rooms he famously declaimed passages from The Waste Land through a megaphone.He wrote in many different mediums, publishing nearly thirty books, with his poetry and fiction being markedly less successful than his other works.