Bright Young Things: Creative Genius from Between the Wars

The 1920s and 30s saw the rise of talent, literary genius and eccentric bohemianism in England. This course looks at four of some of the best who were celebrities in this period but may now be forgotten: Sylvia Townsend Warner, Harold Acton, Cecil Beaton and Diana Mitford. Daring, sometimes controversial, but always fascinating – come investigate a long-lost world as we look at how these people spent their glamorous youths and how they lived their mature years.

This class will be delivered face-to-face at WEA Sydney. Enrolling students need to ensure they have read the current COVID-19 Safety Guidance that WEA Sydney has put in place before enrolling.


  • Nancy Mitford: The Biography, Harold Acton
  • The Duchess of Windsor: A Memoir, Diana Mosley
  • The Wandering Years, Cecil Beaton
  • Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner


  • Sylvia Townsend Warner – Witches, women and daring sexuality
  • Harold Acton – The least-famous friend, the aesthete and the stoic lover of life
  • Cecil Beaton – Beauty, photography and 'My Fair Lady'
  • Diana Mitford – A very famous family, fascist shame and exile after the War

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Have a greater knowledge of how a generation of English celebrities from the 1920s lived through World war two and beyond.
  2. Comprehend the literary output of these figures along with their achievements in other creative fields.
  3. Explain the richness and complexity of their creative art.
  4. Explain and recognise how these figures influenced others and who their own influences had been dating back to the Edwardian and Victorian eras.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .