Little Masterpieces of Autobiography; Actors

Little Masterpieces of Autobiography; Actors - George Iles Oh what fun! This is nothing more than a compilation of extracts from late nineteenth and early twentieth-century actor biographies/autobiographies (American and English), but they're linked together with some intelligence and attention to repetition of themes. I now have a much better sense of, in particular, Edwin Booth and Henry Irving as people and as actors. And I'm very pleased with Mr. Iles for having introduced substantial excerpts from actresses, notably Clara Morris, who appears to have been quite a character. The last section also covered in quite some depth the slightly bizarre phenomenon of Shakespeare being acted in Italian (in some cases with English co-stars) on the American stage by one Tomasso Salvini, who was acclaimed for his Othello.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book was not the philosophical musings on the nature and mechanics of acting, but the segments from Edwin Booth and Clara Morris on the subject of the murder of President Lincoln by Booth's younger brother, John Wilkes Booth. Even at the distance of a century and a half, the shock and sorrow of that event still resonates.