More English Diaries: Further Reviews of Diaries from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century with an Introduction on Diary Reading

By Arthur Ponsonby | Go to book overview

WILLIAM CHARLES MACREADY

THE diaries of Macready, the celebrated actor (from 1833 to 1851), have been published in two large volumes. He wrote fully and regularly, he was intimately associated with many interesting people, his devotion to his art is apparent in almost every entry. There are many passages which disclose his attempts at self-correction and many particulars with regard to his family; from time to time also he indulges in prayer. It is in fact a typically full diary of a man who is interested in life and interested in himself. It is written almost daily and although what he does and says predominates largely over what he thinks and feels, it probably gives a very accurate picture of his character. It is curious, therefore, that such a good diary should not be more arresting than Macready's is. We are inclined to think this is due chiefly to two causes. His profession was absorbing, but at the same time very narrow and confined, and he himself, although attractive on the stage, appears personally to have had a somewhat harsh and touchy disposition and to have been devoid of the particular form of humour which would have made him laugh at himself.

He was cultured, well read, interested in much beyond the stage, especially politics, but he was incapable of imparting to the review of his daily pursuits, to his struggles and adversities, to his triumphs and achievements or to his criticisms the particular spirit of sympathy and pleasure which far less notable writers in briefer diaries have been able to instil into their records. We are left with the impression that Macready, the man, was devoid of charm. This was not due to his bad temper, which caused him so much trouble and with which he continually struggles, but rather to his conceit, his censorious and rather spiteful attitude towards his colleagues and to the

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More English Diaries: Further Reviews of Diaries from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century with an Introduction on Diary Reading
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • INTRODUCTION ON DIARY READING WITH NOTES ON MINOR ENGLISH DIARIES 3
  • LIST OF DIARIES ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. 33
  • SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES 37
  • Philip Wyot 38
  • Adam Winthrop 40
  • Margaret Lady Hoby 43
  • Lady Anne Clifford 49
  • Walter Powell 56
  • The Ishams - SIR JOHN, SIR THOMAS, AND SIR JUSTINIAN 59
  • Sir John Reresby 64
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper (first Earl of Shaftesbury) 68
  • Viscountess Mordaunt 71
  • Anthony Wood 74
  • Sir Richard Newdigate 83
  • EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 89
  • James Clegg 90
  • James Woodforde 92
  • Thomas Hollis 101
  • Nicholas Cresswell 110
  • Joseph Mydelton 115
  • William Jones 119
  • Henry White 133
  • Samuel Teedon 137
  • John Marsden 140
  • NINETEENTH CENTURY 147
  • Dorothy Wordsworth 148
  • Thomas Asline Ward 158
  • Colonel Peter Hawker 162
  • Thomas Rumney 167
  • Katherine Bisshopp (lady Pechell) 170
  • J. Vine Hall 179
  • William Kershaw 183
  • Henry Edward Fox (fourth Lord Holland) 190
  • Antony Ashley Cooper (seventh Earl of Shaftesbury) 195
  • Emily Shore 204
  • William Charles Macready 210
  • Miss J. 219
  • Ford Madox Brown 226
  • Charles Russell 234
  • Wilfrid Scawen Blunt 241
  • INDEX OF DIARIES AND CHRONICLES NOTICED IN THIS VOLUME 249
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