Letter: Lone voice

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The Independent Culture
Sir: By the early 1960s, Dadie Rylands' declamatory style as a Cambridge University lecturer had ceased to be fashionable (Obituary, 20 January). As an undergraduate actor with the Marlowe Society, which he had so famously founded, I decided out of a mixture of curiosity and respect to attend one of his lectures.

Arriving five minutes late, I saw through the glass roundel in the lecture- theatre door that the great man was already in full spate. I opened the door and entered an otherwise completely empty room.

Though there had been no students to address, Dr Rylands, a professional to the last, had started his lecture on time and was already five minutes into his argument when I arrived. He continued to thunder quotations from Shakespeare at full voice to me, his only listener, till exactly five minutes to the hour, when he gathered up his notes, nodded to the room in general, and made his exit.


London W1