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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Noël Coward



Dear N.C.

I have read your play (which? why your war one, of course) twice and want to admire you. It's a fine effort, a really fine effort. 

You know better than anyone what sort of a play it is; I fancied it hadn't the roots of a great success. You had something far more important to say than usual, and I fancy that in saying it you let the box-office and the stalls go hang. As argument it is first rate. As imagination magnificent: and it does you great honour as a human being. It's for that reason that I liked it so much. Mrs Humphry Ward (before your time) once asked Mathew Arnold (also before your time) why he was not wholly serious. People won't like you better for being quite so serious as you are in this: but it does you honour, as I said, and gave me a thrill to read it.

Incidentally the press-man-magnate-son scene was horrifying. That would 'act', surely? Only most of the rest was far above playing to any gallery.

I think it was very good of you to have done this so plainly and well. I needn't say that it's written with your usual spare exactness and skill. You deny yourself every unnecessary word.


T E Shaw.

No answer. It isn't a letter: I'd wanted to say how much I liked the thing, and failed to say anything worth reading: and so just report progress, gratefully.

Note: Noël Coward, Post-Mortem, a play in eight scenes (London, 1931)

Source: DG 723  
Checked: dn/  
Last revised: 3 February 2006  

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