Alexander Woollcott - Books

Books

  • Mrs Fiske: Her views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production (1917) - Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865–1932) was one of the foremost actresses of her day. Woollcott's first book is a study of her thoughts on the acting profession.
  • The Command is Forward (1919) - A collection of his reportage and essays from Stars and Stripes.
  • Shouts and Murmurs (1922) - Theatre articles. His column in The New Yorker was named after this book. The New Yorker revived the title as a catch-all for humorous pieces in the 1990s.
  • Mr. Dickens Goes to the Play (1922) - A few chapters by Woollcott on Charles Dickens's love of the theatre and a great many reprinted selections from Dickens's writings.
  • Enchanted Aisles (1924) - More theatre articles.
  • The Story of Irving Berlin (1925) - The rags-to-riches story of the great composer.
  • Going to Pieces (1928) - More stories of Woollcott's friends in and out of the theatre.
  • Two Gentlemen and a Lady (1928) - A short book about dogs.
  • While Rome Burns (1934) - It was Thornton Wilder who convinced Woollcott that his work was important enough to deserve reissue in book form. While Rome Burns was a surprise bestseller and further cemented Woollcott's reputation nationally. It is light reading but includes much that is amusing or quaint and one very fine piece, "Hands Across the Sea," about justice during the war. The book also contains "The Mystery of the Hansom Cab," Woollcott's account of the infamous Nan Patterson case. In 2008, The Library of America selected the piece for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.
  • The Woollcott Reader (1935) - An anthology of works by other writers that Woollcott felt deserved the public's attention. The pieces run several gamuts, from treacly biography to acid modernism.
  • Woollcott's Second Reader (1937) - More of the same.
  • Long, Long Ago (1943) - Issued just after his death, this follows in the steps of While Rome Burns but is not as good. The decline in his prose, as other interests drew on his time, is evident. Still, there are some amusing pieces, and it became another bestseller.
  • As You Were (1943) - An anthology of other people's works, compiled by Woollcott for issue to servicemen in the Second World War. It is dedicated to Frode Jensen, a young Danish man whom Woollcott befriended and who was the closest to a son as Woollcott ever had.
  • The Letters of Alexander Woollcott (1944) - A collection of his voluminous correspondence compiled by two of his dearest friends, Beatrice Kaufman and Joe Hennessey.
  • The Portable Woollcott (1946) - An anthology of the best of Woollcott's writings.

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