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The joys of reading aloud


I met everyone who counted in France
John Julius Norwich Writer
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Well, the embassy was a tremendous success from my parents' point of view. I mean... my father did it beautifully and my mother did it beautifully and I think they both enjoyed it enormously. As did I because I went over every holiday and travelled a lot all over France with them. And if I have a regret, it is that I was there really between the ages of 15 and 18, just a little bit too young. If I'd been there just a little bit later, let's say 18 to 21, I would have known what Jean Cocteau was all about, I would have understood the whole thing much better. But anyway, as it was I learned a lot obviously and met everybody, really, who counted in France in that time. And fortunately as I said, I was always easy and fluent in French, not bilingual but fluent and so language at least wasn't a problem.

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Jean Cocteau

Duration: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018