Noel Coward Diaries, Signed and with His Bookplate
[Signed by Sheridan Morley; Noel Coward Bookplate] Morley, Sheridan (ed.). The Noel Coward Diaries. Second Printing. 1982. Book and dust jacket are both in very good condition. Book is warmly inscribed by Sheridan Morley on the front endpaper, “Darling Ros + James + Dan, a little light reading for Christmas! Fond love, Sherry.” It is also signed by Morley and the co-editor, Graham Payn, Coward’s companion of thirty years, on Noel Coward’s bookplate, which is attached to the flyleaf.
“Even the youngest of us will know, in 50 years’ time, what precisely is meant by ‘a very Noël Coward sort of person,’” wrote Kenneth Tynan in 1952. There is much truth to that. Coward’s is rightly remembered as witty bon vivant, a sophisticate whose substance played a supporting role, at least publicly. He never let it upstage his style. However, there was more to Noel Coward, and it comes through in the most fascinating passages of these diaries, nestled among the flurry of social events Coward attended. Spanning the years 1941 to 1969, Coward applies a lifetime of accumulated wisdom to the current events, people, movies, plays, books, and musical acts of that era, as he fulminates against vulgarity and the lack of humor he encountered in mid-20th Century life.
“To revert for a moment to my death theme, the only thing that really saddens me over my demise is that I shall not be here to read the nonsense that will be written about me and my works and my motives. There will be books proving conclusively that I was homosexual and books proving equally conclusively that I was not. There will be detailed and inaccurate analyses of my motives for writing this or that and of my character. There will be lists of apocryphal jokes I never made and gleeful misquotations of words I never said. What a pity I shan’t be here to enjoy them.”