The Richard Burton Diaries Chris Williams, Richard Burton

Publication date:
11 Oct 2012
Yale University Press
704 pages: 235 x 156 x 44mm
16 pp. b-w illus.
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In his personal diaries Richard Burton is a man quite different from the one we familiarly 'know' as acclaimed actor, international film star and jet-set celebrity. From his private, handwritten pages there emerges a different person - a family man, a father, a husband, a man often troubled and always keenly observing. Understood through his own words, day to day and year to year, Burton becomes a fully rounded human being who, with a wealth of talent and a surprising burden of insecurity, confronts the peculiar challenges of a life lived largely in the spotlight.

This volume publishes in their entirety the surviving diaries of Richard Burton (born Richard Jenkins). The diaries were written between 1939 and 1983 - throughout his career and the years of his celebrated marriages to Elizabeth Taylor. Diary entries appear in their original sequence, with annotations to clarify the people, places, books and events he mentions. At times Burton struggles to come to terms with the unfulfilled potential of his life and talent. In other entries, he crows over achievements and hungers for greater challenges. He may be watching his weight, watching his drinking or watching other men watch his Elizabeth. Always he is articulate, opinionated and fascinating. His diaries offer a rare and fresh perspective on his own life and career, Elizabeth Taylor's, and the glamorous world of film, theatre and celebrity that they inhabited.

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(1925 - 1984) was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. He remains closely associated in the public consciousness with his second wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor. is professor of Welsh history, director of the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities, and deputy director of the College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University. He was formerly director of the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales. He lives in Swansea.Richard BurtonChris Williams

'Likely to prove the literary sensation of the year.' Christopher Wilson, 'As compulsively page-turning as a novel.' 'Shameless, prolix, vivid and curiously touching. Burton's diaries are a telling, often painfully truthful addition to the social history of the years between 1960 and 1974'.'Indispensable.' Roger Lewis, 'Richard Burton's diaries, published in full for the first time 28 years after his death, show a man who was far more than an actor obsessed and twice married to an Oscar-winning Hollywood icon.' 'Meticulously edited by Welsh history professor Chris Williams, the diaries are, in a word, fascinating - indeed downright compelling - reading ... Altogether, make for utterly involving, fascinating reading, giving a rare insight into a complicated, gifted individual.''I have to say that, even in this culture when we seem to get too much information on celebrities, there's something about the words on these pages that's really fascinating.' Matt Lauer,'Burton describes himself as 'idiotically listenable' - and indeed he is. Even when he’s realizing that his fights with Elizabeth sound like the squabbles of a couple in a cheap hotel, '20 years married and bored witless by each other'; or lusting for a double ice-cold vodka martini, 'the glass fogged with condensation', and opting instead for a '[d]isgusting' Tab... you can’t help liking him.''Full of surprises and revelations.'

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