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Lewis & Sybil - John Casson

Collins, 1972, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Good+ — in Good Dustwrapper. Edges of the dustwrapper frayed, faded at the spine. Price Clipped. Gently bruised at the head, tail and corners of the binding. Leans slightly. Edges of the textblock lightly tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: “The lifelong partnership of Lewis Casson and Sybil Thorndike irradiated the English stage. It was a partnership that combined qualities rare — in themselves but rarer still in conjunction: the traditional with the adventurous, the gay with the high-minded, the sophisticated with the simple, superb natural endowments of voice, looks and intelligence with a no less superb technique. Through it all glowed a warmth of affection, a generosity of sympathy, a zest for life that shone as brightly in old age as it had in the days when Sybil, with four young children to look after, was earning ten shillings a performance at the Old Vie while Lewis was sending home all he could spare from his sergeant’s pay in the trenches. John Casson, their eldest son, himself a naval officer who became a producer and is the father of a young actress already well-known, has written a memoir that rises to its opportunities. Lewis and Sybil are as convincing in themselves as in any of the roles they have created. In one sense the book is the story of a brilliantly talented and strongly attached family over the sixty years that stretch from Edward VII to Elizabeth II. In another it portrays the old professional theatre, without benefit of grants and subsidies, as seen by two of its most professional members, who themselves risked everything to bring the Greek tragedians to a popular audience and for whom Bernard Shaw wrote his greatest play. Yet again it is the intertwining of both these themes with love and death and war and religion and idealism, the world that we all have in common and that so few of us make as much of as they did.

It is a book of pace and pathos and high spirits. There are stories of the theatre and sketches of actors and actresses and producers and writers that will delight everyone who has ever enjoyed a play. Shaw, Gilbert Murray, Godfrey Tearle, Emlyn Williams, Rex Harrison, Gladys Cooper, John Gielgud, Lord Olivier, Marie Tempest, Bronson Albery, Binkie Beaumont — the men and women of the theatre crowd too close to hear a name drop. Above all it is a memorable full length study, intimate without falseness or vulgarity, of two passionate and exciting people who have enriched the lives of English speaking people the world over..”


Size: 9¼" x 6". Burgundy boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 352 pages.
£7.50

This one has already found a new owner.