Is the world too weary for another biography of Noel Coward? There was Sheridan Morley’s official tome during the old boy’s lifetime. And I seem to remember Morley titillating it up a bit after his death; but I could be wrong. Then there was Cole Lesley aka Leslie Cole’s pleasant, insider’s Life, an illustrated book by Charles Castle, and the Diaries. At some time William Marchaunt’s eccentric memoir arrived on my bookshelves, followed by My Life with Noel Coward, a charming and surprising evocation of their shared life by Graham Payn, who first met Coward when he was a precocious juvenile and years later, in the Forties, became his lover and then his companion and a key permanent member of his circle.
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'Too many historians sneer at our forbears; scolding them if they follow the customs of their own day ... tut-tutting if the poor things are detected having a little fun.'
From the archive, Mary Clive on medieval travellers.
'Reading Taylor’s book has also made me join a book club. I did not like the January book; I did enjoy drinking gin while saying why.'
@clamorousvoice explores the history of women readers.
'When the language starts functioning as a character in fiction, when it is there drawing attention to itself ... It’s not anything that anybody really takes seriously.'
Our interview with Anthony Burgess from 1983.