Top critical review
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on 19 February 2012
Coward is portrayed as a middle class boy/man, social climber, free loader, sponger with a sycophantic crowd of hangers on to pander to his childish demands, hence he behaves more like the Mistress than the Master!
Hoare writes much about Coward's sexual exploits as well as those of many of his friends. Hardly a page goes by without some reference to whom was sleeping with who, so much so that I was left wondering which was more important, Coward's writing or philandering! Alas in the end the tantrums, bitchiness, attitude and arrogance have the effect that in the end there is little admiration for the man which is a pity as his words still remain a legacy to the English language.
Excellent research marred by trying not to be just a collection of dates and facts, consequently the time scale becomes muddled, a little more attention to detail wouldn't have come amiss. Most of the time Philip Hoare is remote enough from his subject but occasionally he lets his feelings get the better and the words come across as opinionated.
This could well be the definitive book on Coward though I doubt it, but certainly researched in depth and does show what a sexual predator Coward was and also how prolific and speedy his output was - but then he was always a shallow man who thought he was the centre of the universe!