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Blessings in Disguise - Alec Guinness

Hamish Hamilton, 1985, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper with short nicks to the head of the spine. Edges of the text block lightly tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: “My birth certificate registers me as Alec Guinness de Cuffe, born in Marylebone, London, 2nd April 1914; my father’s name is left a speculative blank. The mystery has never been solved, though Alec Guinness would later be the recipient of certain intriguing theories. But, in any case, Blessings in Disguise is not an autobiography which tells all, an exercise in egomania as purveyed by so many actors and actresses. What can be said, without the faintest chance of contradiction, is that it is one of the wittiest, most entertaining memoirs to come out of the theatre in many a long day.

Here are brilliant pen portraits of Ralph Richardson, Edith Evans, Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson, Tyrone Guthrie, and John Gielgud; and of two less well remembered but once greatly revered figures, Ernest Milton and Martita Hunt. Edith Sitwell presides at the Sesame Club and is reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church (Evelyn Waugh wore black and white dog-tooth tweeds, a red tie, and a boater from which streamed red and blue ribbons). Vivien Leigh exercises her charms on a susceptible admiral in North Africa. Ernest Hemingway is less than overwhelmed by Noel Coward. Lilian Baylis demonstrates her renowned commercial sense. Nellie Wallace sends a huge bunch of yellow roses to a sick boy (the boy was Alec Guinness, who was totally enchanted by her mixture of innuendo and wicked mime).

And here too is Alec Guinness himself, on his film career, on his religious beliefs, on his war experiences (the relevant chapter is entitled ‘Damage to the Allied Cause’ and one can see why), writing always with modesty, a perfect sense of timing, a lack of malice, and above all humour mixed with humanity. It is a remarkable, and hilarious, combination..”


Jacket designed by Clive Francis. Size: 9½" x 6¼". Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [X] 238 pages.
£6.50

This one has already found a new owner.