A Commonplace Book

A Commonplace Book

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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • AudioGO Limited
  • Chivers Large print (Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & C
  • Bath, United Kingdom
  • Large type / large print
  • Large type edition
  • 0754047806
  • 9780754047803

Review Text

The late Alec Guinness was a witty and urbane actor whose three books of memoirs and recollections proved him also to be a most entertaining, self-effacing autobiographer. He quotes from Hamlet: 'Unpack my heart with words', and this is what he did in his commonplace book. He tells us that he always had a love affair with beautiful paper bound up in beautiful books; but he would start writing in them, and after a while stop. Yet when he bought the cheapest exercise book, he had no difficulty in filling it. This may have something to do with the fact that, while delighted by beauty and intelligence, he always kept closely in touch with humankind. His book reveals - as if we needed to be told - a wonderfully sharp ear and a piercing eye ('Norman Lamont's mouth like the neck of a party balloon', he remarks apropos of nothing; and overhears a lady disembarking from an Atlantic crossing: 'It's good to be back on terra cotta'). He is a splendidly accurate putter-down of vulgarity. His two great loves are clearly the poetry of Shakespeare and the prose of the Bible. Time and again he plucks from these works lines which we have forgotten or half-forgotten, but are, as he reminds us, immortal. But he loves Kipling, too, and reminds us how good that writer's neglected poetry is; also T S Eliot, Drayton, Marlowe, Homer, Stevenson, Montaigne. The book is a real well of wisdom, enriched by charming illustrations. (Kirkus UK)show more