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Saturday, March 1, 2014

That bore, Shakespeare

Reading Richard Burton's Diaries, which are really very interesting once he gets going. I find diaries and journals fascinating reading; not quite sure why - a sort of literary voyeurism, I suppose. One or two - A.. Rowse's for instance - Kenneth Williams' - I can dip into again and again. And collections of letters: Gielgud's - fascinating. The best of them are as unselfconscious as possible: K.W. didn't care what he wrote; Burton a little consciously literary - but he writes well. Rowse obviously considered his as a gift to the future - would walk along behind people and delay them by writing down the conversation! - the selection of his diaries is ridiculously small, in one volume - a selection of four or five books would be fine. Not sure what the impetus is, to write a diary: I've written one since 1952, and looking back on them can absolutely understand why people destroy such things - so often puerile if not infantile, so many missed opportunities: 'That bore Shakespeare called in today and went on for ever about his tedious plays . . . It seems he's having trouble  casting Hamlet. Who's interested?'
Oh, well, too late to stop now; and I shan't destroy them: if one's not allowed to display one's own foolishness, who is?

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