Nicolson, Sir Harold

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Nicolson, Sir Harold

Sir Harold Nicolson, 1886–1968, English biographer, historian, and diplomat, b. Tehran, Iran. Educated at Oxford, he entered the foreign office in 1909, and, until his resignation 20 years later, he represented the British government in various parts of the world. His work at the Paris Peace Conference (1919) prompted the study Peacemaking, 1919 (1933) and stimulated an interest in diplomacy that is reflected in Diplomacy (1939) and The Evolution of Diplomatic Method (1954, 3d ed. 1963). He served in the House of Commons from 1935 to 1945 and was knighted in 1953. Among the subjects of his skillful and sympathetic biographies are Paul Verlaine (1921), Tennyson (1923), Byron (1924), Swinburne (1926), Curzon (1934), Dwight Morrow (1935), King George V (1953), and Sainte-Beuve (1957). Other works include The Congress of Vienna (1946), Good Behaviour (1956), The Age of Reason (1961), and Kings, Courts, and Monarchy (1962). He was married to the novelist Vita Sackville-West.

See his diaries and letters, ed. by his son, Nigel Nicolson (3 vol., 1966–68); N. Nicolson, Portrait of a Marriage (1973).

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