The Noel Coward Reader

The Noel Coward Reader

By Noel Coward; Barry Day (Editor)

Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780307474872, 596pp.

Publication Date: September 6, 2011


"The NoEl Coward Reader "offers a wonderfully wide-ranging selection--the first of its kind--of the best of the Master's oeuvre, entertainingly annotated and abundantly illustrated, and including material that has never before been published.
Here are scenes from Coward's famous plays, from "Private Lives "to "Blithe Spirit, " and his screenplays, from "Brief Encounter "to "In Which We Serve." Here are four of his best short stories, scenes from his only novel, and a generous selection of his verse, alongside the lyrics of many of his most sublime songs, including "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," "The Stately Homes of England," and "Mad About the Boy." "The NoEl Coward Reader" is a must-have book both for those who adore his work and for those who are just discovering the many-faceted delights of his comic genius.

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 This Happy Breed (1942). In the fifties he started 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 (l967). Coward 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.

Praise For The Noel Coward Reader

“Splendid. . . . Thoroughly entertaining. . . . A treasured bedside companion.” —The Washington Post

“A compendium of the bon vivant’s best works—and the perfect reminder that great wit has no expiration date.” —Town and Country
“Barry Day, with great skill and devotion, has vividly brought the ‘Master’ back to effervescent life, as fresh and witty as ever.” —Christopher Plummer
“Marvelous. . . . Excellently annotated, introduced, and placed into context to remind us . . . just how great his achievements were.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Barry Day has given himself the formidable task of ordering and justly representing a peripatetic and outpouring talent. . . . Even Coward aficionados should find unexpected pleasures.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A wonderful selection. . . . Brilliant nuggets from an incredibly rich life’s work. . . . As fresh and readable as ever.” –Michael Korda, The Daily Beast
 “[A] triumph of good taste and intelligence. I was struck by the great variety of Coward selected by Barry Day and his fantastic knowledge about everything related to The Master. I just loved it.” —André Bishop, Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater
“The timeless sensibility of Noël Coward is perfectly captured in this amazing, career-encompassing compendium of his best work. Barry Day has achieved the impossible by encapsulating an imposing, gargantuan body of work that will delight both the novice and the longtime fan.” —Michael Feinstein
“As an avid collector of Cowardiana since my teens, I possess seventy-five or so volumes of his work, the gems of which have now—astonishingly—been encapsulated in a single volume by the remarkable Barry Day (along with his ever-erudite and always entertaining commentary). What a welcome convenience and a delight it is to have this sparkling collection in one handsome, travel-handy package!” —Tony Walton