Coward's theatrical impulse came from a sense of his persona, not a sense of life. From his first produced play, I'll Leave It to You …, to his last, A Song at Twilight …, his obsession remained his performing self. Where his stage frivolity announced a philosophical detachment, his charm broadcast a craving for affection. It was a potent mix.
The word "charming" appears in the first entry of The Noel Coward Diaries,… and echoes like a lost soul through his day-by-day account of the life he made legendary. (p. 64)
Charm teases boundaries without overstepping them; the delicacy of the dissimulation requires constant vigilance. From the first, Coward...
(The entire section is 961 words.)