The Letters of Noel Coward

By Noel Coward; Barry Day (Editor)
Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780307391001, 780pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2009

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Lavishly illustrated and annotated, this first and definitive collection of letters to and from Coward provides a divine portrait of an age, from the Blitz to the Ritz and beyond.

The incomparable Noël Coward loved to correspond with friends, enemies, the famous and infamous, the talented and the powerful, including Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia, Somerset Maugham, and many more. Granted unlimited access to the Coward archive, Barry Day presents many never-published letters and has unearthed new, startling evidence of Coward's wartime work as a spy. Along with 191 rare photographs, these letters bring to life the people and events that shaped the twentieth century—and a remarkable man who made his own indelible mark at the heart of it.

About the Author
Noel Coward was born in 1899 in Teddington, Middlesex. He made his name as a playwright with "The Vortex" (1924), in which he also appeared. His numerous other successful plays included "Fallen Angels" (1925), "Hay Fever" (1925), "Private Lives" (1933), "Design for Living" (1933) and "Blithe Spirit" (1941). During the war he wrote screenplays such as "Brief Encounter" (1944) and "In Which We Serve" (1942). In the fifties he began a new career as a cabaret entertainer. He published volumes of verse and a novel ("Pomp and Circumstance", 1960), two volumes of autobiography and four volumes of short stories: "To Step Aside" (1939), "Star Quality" (1951), "Pretty Polly Barlow" (1964) and "Bon Voyage" (1967). He was knighted in 1970 and died three years later in Jamaica.Barry Day is a life-long admirer of Wodehouse, and the author and editor of many books about the world of theater and literature. Tony Ring is the former President of the International Wodehouse association and has written an eight-part Concordance covering all of Wodehouse's fiction.

Praise For The Letters of Noel Coward

"Not your usual epistolary collection. . . . Day has woven Coward's letters into a beautifully rounded text that reads more like a life portrait." —Los Angeles Times"Glitters with the multi-gifted playwright's claws-out bitchiness, tremendous charm, and creative genius. . . . His letters are absolute knockouts." —Vanity Fair"Superb. . . . The portrait of a complex, charming, driven, serious and, frankly, courageous artist. . . . History of the most valuable kind." —The Wall Street Journal

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