The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192122094
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/12/1982
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Beauman
Sally Beauman
A former journalist -- she had a hand in getting a fledgling New York magazine off the ground -- Sally Beauman's true forte is fiction. From her award-winning re-imagination of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca to her acclaimed novel, The Sisters Mortland, she's been thrilling her loyal readers for years.

Biography

Born Sally Kinsey-Miles in England, Sally Beauman graduated from Cambridge with a master's in English Literature and moved to the U.S. with her then-husband Christopher Bauman in the mid-1960s. She joined the staff of the newly formed New York magazine and traveled extensively through America before returning to England, where she continued to write for various publications, including the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, The Observer, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

Bauman received the Katherine Pakenham prize for her journalism and became the youngest-ever editor of Queen magazine (now Harper's and Queen). But after the birth of her son, she found the demands of journalism and motherhood hard to combine, so she turned to full-time writing. Published in 1982, her first book was a serious, well-received work of nonfiction (The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades). In 1986, Bauman forayed into fiction with Destiny, a controversial "romance" that raised eyebrows for its graphic sex and record-breaking one million dollar advance, the largest awarded to date for a first novel. The book, which became a huge bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, was widely misunderstood at the time of publication; today it's viewed as a feminist, genre-subversive study of a materialist woman living in a materialist man's world.

Destiny was followed by other bestsellers, including Dark Angel, three linked modern thrillers (Lovers & Liars, Danger Zones, and Sextet), and The Sisters Mortland. But the book for which Bauman is best known is Rebecca's Tale, a sequel to Daphne du Maurier's classic novel of gothic suspense. Growing out of a 1993 article on du Maurier written for Tina Brown's New Yorker, Bauman's story gestated for several years before emerging in 2001 as a rich reimagining of the first Mrs. de Winter's life at Manderlay.

Not unlike her idol du Maurier, Bauman has been saddled with the label of romance writer; in fact, the novels of both women embody a sophistication and complexity that transcends the genre. In an interview with her American publisher HarperCollins, Bauman stated emphatically: "The 'romantic novelist' tag infuriated du Maurier, and quite rightly: that particular slur was a product of lazy thinking, of feeble critical acumen. Rebecca is a profoundly anti-romantic novel, I would say; it uses the conventions of romantic fiction to explode and shatter the entire concept of romance. Is it romantic to end up as Mrs de Winter does, shackled to a murderer and a perjurer? Is it romantic to allow such a man to determine your very identity? I'd say that Rebecca is a novel fuelled by rage, not romance -- and in some ways the same is true of my own Rebecca's Tale."

Good To Know

Some fascinating anecdotes from our interview with Beauman:

"My first proper job was in America. I was hired as editorial dogsbody on the newly launched, shoestring budget New York magazine. By the time I got that job, I'd had rejection slips from just about every magazine on the East Coast, so I'd have done anything to get it -- if they'd wanted a cleaner, I'd have said ‘When do I start?'"

"I was hired because I had a Cambridge degree, a twenty two-year-old pretty face and an English accent. Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, and Jimmy Breslin were working for the magazine -- so I learned fast. I learnt: a) not to be English b) to meet deadlines and c) to push hard. The first piece I had published, and the first interview I ever did, was with Norman Mailer. He was making a movie on Long Island, and he threw me off the set. It was an excellent start."

"I'm a woman, and a mother and (just recently) a grandmother. That's important: women writers have to juggle their personal and professional lives in a way that very few male writers do -- you can't retreat to an ivory-tower study and slam the door when you're breast-feeding. I view that as an advantage: babies and children make you constantly re-examine your priorities; they're a humanizing force. Humbling, too."

"I like isolation. When I worked as a journalist, I was constantly surrounded by people -- it took a lot of adjusting when I began writing fiction, and learnt to spend long hours alone. Now, I love to be with my family, but I'm also addicted to silence and solitude -- so I have a house on a remote Hebridean island, and I go there every year to write. Miles of empty white sand beaches and a pounding Atlantic sea -- nothing but ocean between me and Newfoundland: I think it helps the prose."

"I don't really believe that readers should know very much about writers -- too much biographical information is irrelevant, and can get in the way. What matters is the work -- so I'd like them to know me through my books, through the words I put on a page."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 25, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Torquay, Devon, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English Literature, Hons Cantab, 1966; M. A., Hons Cantab, 1969

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