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The Noël Coward Reader Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 12, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From the Roaring Twenties through the Beatles era, Noël Coward virtually embodied sophistication and wit for the entire English-speaking world. His plays, songs, and short stories made him the darling of the literary set, and his screenplays attracted a mass audience. He was also an early advocate of television, although he claimed to prefer appearing on it to watching it. Day has assembled a chronological assortment of extracts from Coward’s immense oeuvre. A master of light verse, Coward penned lyrics that practically sing for themselves. Although he seemed so much at home with upper-class domestic comedy, he wrote stunning patriotic works that helped bolster Britain during WWII’s darkest months. Day’s commentary usefully links the selections one to another, and he avoids psychological ruminations in favor of thoughtful juxtaposition of texts. The only thing missing is Coward’s music, delicate tunes that so defined British cabaret for a generation. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

“A wonderful selection of the Master’s work, plays, fiction, songs, brilliant nuggets from an incredibly rich life’s work that ought to be placed under the Christmas tree of anyone who admires Coward, or is interested in the theater, or has even the slightest curiosity about English life and letters from the end of the First World War to the end of the Second. . the best of his best work is gathered here, as fresh and readable as ever, in a volume that is full of wonderful things, and equally wonderful illustrations. Buy it, darling!”
 
—Michael Korda, The Daily Beast


"As an avid collector of Cowardiana since my teens, I possess seventy-five or so volumes of his work; the gems of which have now—astonishingly—been encapsulated in a single volume by the remarkable Barry Day (along with his ever-erudite and always entertaining commentary.) What a welcome convenience and a delight it is to have this sparkling collection in one handsome, travel-handy package!"

—Tony Walton
 
"A compendium of the bon vivant’s best works—and the perfect reminder that great wit has no expiration date."

Town and Country

"With the Coward letters and now The Noël Coward Reader, Barry Day, with great skill and devotion has vividly brought the "Master" back to effervescent life, as fresh and witty as ever."

—Christopher Plummer

“A thoroughly entertaining introduction to [Noël Coward’s] life and work for those who do not know either, as well as a treasured bedside companion for those who do . . . thanks are due to Barry Day, whose service in Coward’s behalf has been exemplary. . . and is further burnished with this splendid “Reader.”
 
—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“Another triumph of good taste and intelligence. I was struck by the great variety of Coward selected by Barry Day and his fantastic knowledge about everything related to The Master: familiar lyrics and scenes right alongside obscure and unknown material. I just loved it.”
 
—André Bishop, Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater


“The timeless sensibility of Noel Coward is perfectly captured in this amazing career-encompassing compendium of his best work. Barry Day has achieved the impossible by encapsulating an imposing gargantuan body of work that will delight both the novice and the longtime fan.”
  
—Michael Feinstein
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307273377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307273376
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm glad I got this book but I got it confused with what I really wanted - Noel Coward's Short Story Collection.

This "collection" is really excerpts of everything Coward ever worked on. There are a couple of short stories in their entirety, and the lyrics to a lot of his songs, but only snippets of each play and parts of letters and notes he wrote.

It's like you get a taste of everything but it's not a full meal.

Now that I'm writing this I'm realizing the book, for as many pages as it has, really doesn't give you enough. If you've never read Coward, I don't think this book is going to convince you to study him more. If you HAVE read Coward, you're going to be disappointed because all you're getting are excerpts.

I like Noel Coward and it was by mistake that I ordered this. For me, this is not a bad book to grab on the way to the bathroom or glance at before you drop off to sleep.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is extremely informative as well as well written. It provides the reader with an insight into a genius and his career. The dialogue selected from his various works are superb as they provide an insight to the times and culture of which he wrote and observed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Justs what I hoped it would be. It is a really fun read !
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This mishmash of Coward's works is obviously for anyone who has never heard of Coward, because the book is a compilation of stories, poems, and songs that have appeared in many other much better books about Sir Noel. Author may be an expert on Coward, but he doesn't get to the heart of the man. Not worth the money.
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