Author(s): John Gielgud (ed Richard Mangan)
A remarkable 20th century life seen through the frank and enthralling letters of one of the great English actors of his generation - the autobiography that Gielgud himself never wrote. John Gielgud wrote letters almost every day of his adult life. Whether at home in London and later in Buckinghamshire, or acting abroad or on location, he delighted in sitting down each morning and recounting what had been going on and what he felt about events around him. He was still writing just a few days before his death aged 96 in May 2000.His letters are treasured by the recipients and the problem for the editor has been in selection. He wrote in an increasingly idiosyncratic hand and remarked that even he needed a magnifying glass at times to see what he had actually written. Through the letters, which begin with those to his mother, we meet a man who delights in gossip, in describing what he sees and experiences. Here for the first time - and not previously available to biographers - are Gielgud's love letters. They show that he was not shy in expressing the intimacies of personal relationships. Gielgud had a reputation for speaking his mind, and this is evident as he writes about his contemporaries, including the great actors of the period: Olivier, Richardson, Redgrave, Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans and the like. Here is great letter-writing before the age of e-mail. Gielgud's Letters are a revelation - full of inside information and gossip.