[SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616.]
GIELGUD, JOHN. 1904-2000. Autograph Letter Signed ("John"), 4 pp, 8vo, London, to a young actor, Autograph Letter Signed ("John"), 4 pp, 8vo, London, to a young actor, Richard Sterne, containing a detailed account of the intricacies of the role of Romeo, bright, with mailing folds.
Provenance: Richard L. Sterne
A LIVELY AND IMPASSIONED LETTER FROM ONE OF THE GREATEST SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS OF THE 20TH CENTURY TO A YOUNG ACTOR DESCRIBING INTIMATELY THE SUBTLETIES OF PORTRAYING ROMEO. Unrivaled among modern Shakespearean actors, Sir John Gielgud along with Sir Laurence Olivier thrilled audiences on stage and screen for more than 70 years. This letter to Richard Sterne, who was preparing for the role of Romeo at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, froths with passion and urgency, "Don't let the director convince you that the loves scenes are realistic. The ball scene meeting is a SONNET, the Balcony the epitome of londing and romantic imagination ... the farewell is not a rough and tumble on the bed ... The evanescence of youth and passion - the hectic hopelessness of the moment they are both strangely aware of - then, in the Mantua scene, he grows up in a single moment 'Then I defy you, stars,! he is suddenly a man and not a boy...". Simon Callow wrote, in the Guardian on the advent of Gielgud's centenary, that this letter "contains in essence everything that characterised Gielgud as a classical actor. The whole letter should be inscribed on any actor's heart."