After Sir Alec Guinessess's death in August 2000, two notebooks were found in his study in which he had jotted down quotations from favourite books, thoughts on Shakespeare, anecdotes from the theatre and even remarks overheard in the street. His collection is now published in this volume.
When Sir Alec Guinness died in August 2000 at the age of 86, he left behind two exercise books filled with entries in his small, beautiful handwriting, together with a typed-up Introduction that suggests he planned to have the books published or broadcast in some way. Together they make up this commonplace book. The entries include passages from favourite poems and plays, theatrical anecdotes, stories overheard on the street, and the occasional short musing or reminiscence on a subject that has simply taken his fancy. Inevitably certain writers recur: Shakespeare, of course, the subject of a lifetime's study and love. Pepys, Kipling, R.S. Thomas and religious writers like Cardinal Newman and Simone Well. But here too are Woody Allen and John Updike, e.e. cummings and Barry Humphries. And some acerbic comments on certain contemporary television stars. The result is a charming book of wisdom and reflection, consolation and sheer pleasure, and one that offers an extraordinary insight into the mind of one of the great actors of the 20th century.