THE HEART OF FAME by Giles Playfair


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A first person narrative of an English actor's rise to stardom -- his precarious glory -- and down curve to lurid disgrace -- this is a point by point of the incidents and precedents along Charles Strangleigh's theatrical, and personal, route. Paul Hunter recognized his talent in an amateur performance, Paul's cousin Jean fell in love with Charles, and committed suicide when Charles married debauched, and debauching, American Renee. Charles' perfect performance, off stage as well as on, took him far, until he was subjugated by the concertist, Lise, whose pro-Nazi alliances caught him asleep: his judgments and values, never wholly balanced, led him disastrously from the romanticism of Shakespeare to modern theater, to alcohol and its oblivious effects on obligations, to a wealthy marriage in which his wife tried to reclaim him. And the total result of this was to send him to the provinces in a parody of a play in which he had failed, and in which he won salacious and scandalous acclaim through his perverted performance, until, at last he was salvaged by a little nobody, who believed in his perfections and reputation -- all unsullied. A near and far distance portrait in which the hazards of success are confronted by an evil genius which recognizes no control in its egocentricity, this is for those who like behind-the-scenes theatrics, embellished with details.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1950
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.