Entry updated 31 August 2018. Tagged: Author.
(1899-1973) UK actor, poet, playwright and author, performing professionally in his teens, on the stage (from 1911) and in films (from 1917); his first play I'll Leave It To You (performed 1920; 1920 chap) was followed by dozens of successful comedic satires over the next decades. He did not often engage in the fantastic as a dramatist (and never as a fiction writer), though his anti-war play, Post-Mortem: A Play in Eight Scenes (1931), features the ghost of a soldier killed during World War One who appears in 1930 to excoriate contemporary Britain for dismissing the lessons of the terrible conflict (see Amnesia). Blithe Spirit: An Improbable Farce in Three Acts (performed 1941; 1942) also turns on the actions of a ghost (see Supernatural Creatures).
Of sf interest is the Hitler Wins Alternate History drama, "Peace in Our Time": A Play in Two Acts and Eight Scenes (performed 1947; 1947), which describes acutely, but without much kindness, an occupied Britain. The play was not a success in the post-War environment, but on the page conveys a melancholy wisdom. Coward was knighted in 1970. [JC]
see also: Theatre.
Sir Noël Peirce Coward
born Teddington-on-Thames, Middlesex: 16 December 1899
died Firefly, Jamaica: 26 March 1973
works (highly selected)
- Post-Mortem: A Play in Eight Scenes (London: William Heinemann, 1931) [play: not performed until 1944: hb/nonpictorial]
- Blithe Spirit: An Improbable Farce in Three Acts (London: William Heinemann, 1942) [play: first performed 2 July 1941, Piccadilly Theatre, London: hb/nonpictorial]
- "Peace in our Time": A Play in Two Acts and Eight Scenes (London: William Heinemann, 1947) [play: first performed 15 July 1947, Royal Theatre, Brighton: hb/nonpictorial]
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