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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rip roaring!
To paraphrase another wit: This is some of the best fun you can have with your clothes still on. Was Kenneth Tynan the most sophisticated and intelligent critic of his generation? It's hard to think that he wasn't, especially after reading these diaries. Not only does he give you a grand notion of what theater can be, but he also gives you a guided tour of the...
Published on November 19, 2001 by Amazon Customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty writing, yes, but one problem ...
Yes to what other Comments say, kudos to the wit and good writing, but inexcusable the casual way he noted things that should never have been committed to a diary, much less a published one. Some readers may overlook the stuff we'd call too much information, but not I. Restraint is a wonderful thing, his lack of it points to viciousness. Although well known and...
Published 8 months ago by northkona


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rip roaring!, November 19, 2001
This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
To paraphrase another wit: This is some of the best fun you can have with your clothes still on. Was Kenneth Tynan the most sophisticated and intelligent critic of his generation? It's hard to think that he wasn't, especially after reading these diaries. Not only does he give you a grand notion of what theater can be, but he also gives you a guided tour of the international theater scene in the late twentieth century. What a grand tonic his intellectually sharp viper tongue is in these days of spineless critics. Bravo!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but frustrating., March 19, 2002
By 
E. Hawkins (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
Kenneth Tynan was a marvellous journalist. There is no-one writing for magazines or newspapers today (perhaps with the exception of Christopher Hitchens) who can so readily draw upon an apparently limitless well of wit, and do so in perfect sentences. All of his books are worth reading if you can find them second-hand: his early collection of drama criticism, 'Curtains', and the collection 'Profiles', are probably the places to start. For devotees of Tynan, who bemoan the paucity of his output in the last fifteen years of his life, the Diaries, splendidly introduced by John Lahr, can prove very frustrating. It seems everything conspired against Ken sitting in front of the typewriter and working his magic. His health was abysmal -- emphysema worsened by a heavy cigarette habit; he was preoccupied by a strange strain of socialism, which allows him to finish one entry with a call for action on the part of the workers and begin the next with an account of a tour through France, eating at three-star Michelin restaurants all the way; and he was rather excessively waylaid by a spanking-based dalliance with a mistress. That he managed to eke out portions of 'The Sound of Two Hands Clapping' and the profiles collected in 'Show People' is, on the evidence of the diaries, something of a miracle.
The diaries themselves make for very entertaining reading. There is plenty of celebrity gossip and, as befits writing not meant for public consumption, a good deal of invective. Sir Peter Hall, referred to throughout as 'P. Hall' is dealt with particularly harshly, and the relationship between Laurence Olivier and Tynan is fraught with ambiguity. There is also Tynan's almost comical political naivete; while there is certainly much that can be said for socialism and sexual liberation, Tynan's blatant hypocrisy (there are several references to his employing servants and nannies) and his very middle-class hatred of anything at all tainted by being middle-class, does not make for a convincing advertisement. I can only imagine how awful his 'spanking film', which he spends several years trying to find backers for, would have been. But these are, believe it or not, minor cavils, and actually add to the enjoyment of looking over Tynan's shoulder as he unburdens himself of his daily thoughts. (He certainly does not let himself off lightly, frequently despairing over his lassitude.) And the concluding entries, shadowed as they are by the reader's (and Tynan's) knowledge of his imminent death, are genuinely moving. I trust and hope there is more Tynan to be reissued soon. He's a fine companion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, November 15, 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
Even those, such as myself, who are not remotely interested in theater or the British social scene in the 70s should read this book. Tynan's diaries at times read like a novel...tart, clever, bitchy, and occasionally venomous. Tynan seems to have known everybody and has something interesting to say about all of them. But his most interesting character is himself; he pulls no punches and really excavates his soul. That is the true joy of reading this book. At times it's painful to read, at other times it's hysterical. But it is never boring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, June 19, 2002
This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
I remember Kenneth Tynan from an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show shortly before his 1980 death. Until this book, I was unfamiliar with his work. Now I see what I was missing.

Not only was Tynan a highly skilled writer of prose, but as a critic he saw things for what they were, even if the majority disagreed. He gives Warren Beatty's pretentious and mystifyingly overrated film Shampoo the swift kick to the rear that it deserves, and even finds a fault with Paddy Cheyefsky's Network that I had not detected prior to reading his assessment of the film in his diaries. Tynan also has his say on economics ("Inflation rides high and I believe intentionally" he writes in 1973) and a myriad of other subjects including his preoccupation with spanking.

Overall, these diaries reveal a melancholy soul who found some solace in writing about his life and its disappointments in his journal. Most published diaries promise more than they deliver. Not Tynan's. His diaries are a compelling read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quotable Lines on Every Page, June 16, 2013
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This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
This volume of the diaries of Kenneth Tynan is hugely entertaining. Tynan, the theater critic for the London paper, The Observer, and the dramaturg of the National Theater in its early days contains lines worth quoting on every page.
Here's part of an entry I sent to several of my friends, Tynan is describing a conference he's attending: " Many of the panelists cease, on achieving panel membership, to speak English. Instead they speak panelese. Otherwise intelligent men, with delicately nurtured minds and impeccable intellectual credentials, are transformed by the proximity of a microphone into pundits, saying things like:
`Hopefully we shall be making some insightful and non-judgmental contributions in the area of relating to the paranoia of urban lifestyles and the banalisation of caringness.'"
I was hugely entertained and enlightened by reading this book. One caveat: Tynan enjoyed spanking women. He found it very sexually exciting and he loves describing various assignations. (Neither of his wives was a fan of this particular fetish). The accounts of his relationship with Nicole and others isn't shocking but it is boring.
If you sail over those passages, you'll find Mr. Tynan a witty companion for many evenings.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Witty writing, yes, but one problem ..., June 11, 2014
By 
northkona (Kailua-Kona, HI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
Yes to what other Comments say, kudos to the wit and good writing, but inexcusable the casual way he noted things that should never have been committed to a diary, much less a published one. Some readers may overlook the stuff we'd call too much information, but not I. Restraint is a wonderful thing, his lack of it points to viciousness. Although well known and successful, he shows a lot of fury at his famous friends, his fractured income, and his shaky personal life. Some of the most salacious diary entries were written toward the end of his life, still young, and battling lung disease, so maybe he didn't care about anybody's feelings. The book of his Profiles is a better book, and still good reading in 2014, whereas this one is not only dated, but flawed by these things we really didn't need to know. By the end of it, I thought he was a cad.

UPDATE: Just finished The Noel Coward Diaries, largely about the theater, but a notably better book. Coward kept his secrets and still had plenty of fireworks on the page.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, November 15, 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover)
Even those, such as myself, who are not remotely interested in theater or the British social scene in the 70s should read this book. Tynan's diaries at times reads like a novel...tart, clever, bitchy, and occasionally venomous. Tynan seems to have known everybody and has something interesting to say about all of them. But his most interesting character is himself; he pulls no punches and really excavates his soul. That is the true joy of reading this book. At times it's painful to read, at other times it's hysterical. But it is never boring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun stuff., October 25, 2008
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Tynan is an excellent observer and a thoughtful guy. In this book he writes generally short, sharp bits about whatever is on his mind at the time. Interests include the theater, spanking, his relationships, a movie he is trying to make, writing, fine dining, socialism and his personal financial concerns.

His writing is clear, unsentimental and extremely readable. Most interesting book I've read in some time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything a Good Dairy Should be.., June 15, 2011
By 
Wonderfully indiscreet dairy from Tynan.

This has everything that a published diary should have, lots of good gossip and humour. The JFK - Greta Garbo story again exemplifies what a loathsome person Kennedy was.

Tynan was also heavily into S and M and liked to spank women on the bottom, his wife wasn't keen on this so he had an extra one for this carry on.

One other strange thing that really stood out was that he was always broke but he never seemed to have any trouble flitting across the Atlantic at the drop of a hat. Obviously his definition of broke and mine bear no relation to each other.

As a diary this is highly recommended, great entertainment
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The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan
The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan by Kenneth Tynan (Hardcover - November 17, 2001)
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