In Two Minds: Jonathan Miller: A Biography

In Two Minds: Jonathan Miller: A Biography

by Kate Bassett


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849434515
Publisher: Oberon Books
Publication date: 02/26/2013
Pages: 479
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Kate Bassett is the theatre critic for the Independent on Sunday and has previously worked in that capacity for both the Times and the Daily Telegraph. She has also written features and reviews on film, literature, dance and comedy for the Guardian, Time Out, City Limits, TLS and the New Statesman.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgements xiii

Introduction xix

1 Birth and Parents 1

An infancy in print

2 The War and Post-War Years 17

Peripatetic and prep-school days

3 1947-53 37

St Paul's School

4 1953-6 62


5 The Late Fifties 84

Marriage and UCH;

qualified medic and collagist

6 The Start of the Sixties 96

Beyond the Fringe;

The Establishment;

the Royal Court Theatre

7 1962-4 126

New York

8 The Mid-Sixties 139

Back in the UK and shaking up the BBC, from Monitor to Alice in Wonderland

9 Late Sixties to Early Seventies 163


extended families;

back to the theatre (Nottingham Playhouse, the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company, the Mermaid and Olivier's National Theatre)

10 Early to Mid-Seventies 189

Returning to medical matters in academia;

Peter Hall's NT;

Private Eye;

Greenwich Theatre and a West End Chekhov

11 Mid-Seventies Onwards 212

Operatic beginnings and The Body in Question

12 On into the Eighties 226

The ENO and the BBC Shakespeare Series;

science in Sussex;

Ivan and Prisoner of Consciousness

13 Mid-Eighties 251

Going international;

Subsequent Performances;

finito at the ENO (for now)

14 Nearing the Nineties 263

Long Day's Journey;

the RSC;

a return to the Royal Court;

running the Old Vic

15 The Nineties 275

Damning England;

round the world and back again;

ENO II and the ROH;

Broomhill, the Almeida and Dublin's Gate Theatre

16 Into the New Millennium 293

The ongoing international roundabout;

art and curating;

a knighthood;

a BBC comeback and home

Notes 331

Jonathan Miller: Selective Chronology 421

Bibliography 437

Index of Names 451

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A remarkable portrait of a complex and Coleridgean figure, a man in two minds about himself for most of his life." (Five stars) – Telegraph

"Scrupulously researched, always fascinating… As Bassett says in her admirably measured book, there’s ‘bile and bitterness’ here. As she demonstrates, there’s also genius." - London Times

"Compelling.. a dense, exhaustively well-researched portrait... a persuasive, ultimately rather sad portrait of a North London Jewish boy." – Sunday Times

"Bassett is herself a fine, fierce theatre critic – her write-ups of Miller's productions have verve and perceptive grace… thorough… entertaining." – Guardian

"An admirably thorough job of a biography: sympathetic, deeply researched, informed by long conversations with Miller and dozens of friends, colleagues and, occasionally, enemies." Spectator

"Kate Bassett’s fascinating book draws together the many strands that combine to make this renaissance man." Jewish Chronicle

"Sir Jonathan Miller is a remarkable man. As one of the great egocentrics of his generation, he would not question this judgment... Ms Bassett’s first-class biography does not mask Sir Jonathan’s weaknesses, but she says that, “in conversation, his flaws seem more tragicomic than intolerable—the bile and bitterness never quite obliterate the man’s warmth.'" – Economist

"Absorbing, in-depth and erudite… Bassett, who clearly likes and respects her subject but isn't overawed by him, sensibly marshals the arguments on both sides and leaves it up to the reader how posterity will regard Miller." – Observer

"Kate Bassett’s brilliant, exhaustively researched biography… reminds us what a truly astonishing man he is. Just try to imagine post-war British culture without him." – Jewish Chronicle

"Intensively researched… Kate Bassett pays a fantastic tribute to a great, if sometimes irascible man… Where Kate Bassett really scores is in painting a rounded portrait of a man who has changed his direction more often than a frisky dodgem car at a funfair… Whatever their interests, readers will find much to entertain." – British Theatre Guide

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