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The Noel Coward Reader

Overview

The Noël 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 ...

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Overview

The Noël 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 Noël 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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

Brad Leithauser
In The Noël Coward Reader, Barry Day…has given himself the formidable task of ordering and justly representing a peripatetic and outpouring talent. This is an outsize book…Coward aficionados should find unexpected pleasures, including rare photographs.
—The New York Times
Jonathan Yardley
Since a genuinely satisfactory biography of the great Noël Coward has yet to be written, this compendium of bits and pieces from his massive life's work can serve as a useful and thoroughly entertaining introduction to that life and work for those who do not know either, as well as a treasured bedside companion for those who do. Coward…seems in no danger of vanishing from our collective consciousness, but it is good to have Barry Day's Reader because it covers the full sweep of his career and leaves no doubt as to the depth and breadth of his accomplishment.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307474872
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 1,414,478
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Day was born in England and received his M.A. from Balliol College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a Trustee of the Noël Coward Foundation, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire “for services to British culture in the U.S.A.” He lives in New York, London, and Palm Beach.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Sir Cameron Mackintosh
Introduction: The Man They Called “The Master”
Chronology
 
 
ONE:  “OVERTURE. BEGINNERS . . . ” : THE EARLY YEARS
 
“Personal Reminiscence” (verse)  
“The Boy Actor” (verse)
“Forbidden Fruit” (lyric)  
“When You Come Home on Leave” (lyric)
excerpts from The Unattainable (play)
 
TWO:  THE 1920s
 
“I Like America” (lyric)  
“Touring Days” (lyric)  
“Red Peppers” (one-act play)
                containing “Has Anybody Seen Our Ship?” (lyric)
                and “Men About Town” (lyric)  
“Me and the Girls” (short story)  
“Why Must the Show Go On?” (lyric)  
excerpt from The Vortex (play)  
excerpts from Fallen Angels (play)  
excerpts from Easy Virtue (play)  
excerpts from Hay Fever (play)  
“Epitaph for an Elderly Actress” (verse)  
“Preface to Semi-Monde” and excerpts from Semi-Monde (play)  
“Green Carnation” (lyric)  
“Sail Away” (lyric)
“I Travel Alone” (lyric)
“Parisian Pierrot” (lyric)  
“Poor Little Rich Girl” (lyric)  
“Dance. Little Lady” (lyric)  
“What Is Love?” (lyric)  
“If Love Were All” (lyric)  
“I’ll See You Again” (lyric)  
“I’ll Follow My Secret Heart” (lyric)  
“I Am No Good at Love” (verse)  
“Something Very Strange” (lyric)  
“A Room With a View” (lyric)  
“This Is to Let You Know” (verse)
“I Knew You Without Enchantment” (verse)
“Mad About the Boy” (lyric)  
“Bronxville Darby and Joan” (lyric)
“Come the Wild, Wild Weather” (lyric)
 
THREE:  THE 1930s
 
“Twentieth Century Blues” (lyric)
excerpts from Private Lives (play)
“Someday I’ll Find You” (lyric)  
“Strictly Private Lives”'  
“Mad Dogs and Englishmen” (lyric)  
“Mrs. Worthington” (lyric)  
“Social Grace” (verse)  
“I’ve Got to Go Out and Be Social” (verse)  
“Mrs. Mallory” (verse)
“The Kindness of Mrs. Radcliffe” (short story)  
excerpts from Design for Living (play)  
“Design for Rehearsing” (sketch)  
excerpts from Tonight at 8:30 (play sequence)
            “Fumed Oak” and “Shadow Play” (one-act plays) 
             including “Then” (lyric)
                          “Play, Orchestra, Play” (lyric) and
                          “You Were There” (lyric)  
“What Mad Pursuit?” (short story)  
“I’ve Been to a Marvellous Party” (lyric)
“The Stately Homes of England” (lyric)  
“I Wonder What Happened to Him?” (lyric)
 
FOUR:  THE 1940s
 
“Friendship in Wartime” (essay)  
“Notes on Liaison” (verse)  
“News Ballad” (verse)  
“Personal Note” (verse)  
“London Pride” (lyric)  
“London. 1940.” (essay)  
“Lie in the Dark and Listen” (verse)  
excerpt from This Happy Breed (play)
excerpts from Blithe Spirit (play)  
excerpts from Time Remembered (play)  
“Canton Island” (verse)  
“Mr. and Mrs. Edgehill” (short story)  
excerpts from In Which We Serve (film)
“I’ve Just Come Out From England” (verse)  
“Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans” (lyric)  
excerpts from Present Laughter (play)
“The One Man Play” (sketch)
excerpts from Brief Encounter (film)   
“This Is a Changing World” (lyric)  
“Uncle Harry” (lyric)  
“Alice Is at It Again” (lyric)  
excerpts from Peace in Our Time (play)  
“Victory?” (essay)
 
 
FIVE:  THE 1950s
 
“There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner” (lyric)  
“Tribute to Marlene Dietrich” (verse)  
“Louisa” (lyric)  
“A Bar on the Piccola Marina” (lyric)
 excerpt from Nude With Violin (play)  
“Consider the Public: A Warning to Actors” (essay)
“Consider the Public: A Warning to Dramatic Critics” (essay)  
“Together With Music” (lyric)
“Jamaica” (verse)  
“House Guest” (verse)  
“World Weary” (lyric)
 
SIX:  THE 1960s
 
Excerpts from Waiting in the Wings (play)  
“Later Than Spring” (lyric)
“Why Do the Wrong People Travel?” (lyric)  
“Useless Useful Phrases” (lyric)  
excerpt from Pomp and Circumstance (novel)   
“The Battle of Britain Dinner, New York, 1963” (verse)  
excerpt from Suite in Three Keys (“A Song at Twilight”) (play)  
“How I Wonder What You Are” (essay)
excerpt from Star Quality (play)  
excerpt from Age Cannot Wither (play)
 
SEVEN:  ENVOI . . . THE 1970s
 
“The Party’s Over Now” (lyric)  
“When I Have Fears” (verse)  
“I’m Here for a Short Visit Only” (verse)
 
Acknowledgments
Index

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