The definitive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and controversial dramatists.
To several generations, actor, playwright, songwriter, and filmmaker Noël Coward (1899-1973) was the very personification of wit, glamour, and elegance. Given unprecedented access to the private papers and correspondence of Coward family members, compatriots, and numerous lovers, Samuel Johnson Prize-winning biographer Philip Hoare has produced an illuminating and sophisticated biography of Coward, whose relentless drive for success and approval fueled the stunning bursts of creativity that launched the once-painfully middle class boy from the suburbs of London into a pantheon of theatrical deities that includes Gilbert and Sullivan, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw. As much the embodiment of a lifestyle as an actual inhabitant of it, Coward’s carefully cultivated image defined the aspirations of untold numbers of actors, artists, and writers who succeeded him, and Hoare’s meticulously researched biography peels away the layers of this complex persona to reveal the man underneath it all, whom The Times of London decreed upon his death to be the most versatile of all the great figures of the English theater.
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Published May 21, 2013
by Simon & Schuster.
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