Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare is a writer and cultural historian.

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Something mad about the boy

Noel Coward wasn't always a cocktail-swilling, dressing-gowned matinee turn. Here, his biographer Philip Hoare tells of the 16-year-old shoplifter and subversive revealed in a bundle of newly discovered photographs

Obituary: Daniel Farson

Daniel Negley Farson, photographer, broadcaster and writer: born 8 January 1927; died 27 November 1997.

Letter: Stritch magic

Sir: In his engrossing interview with the fabulous Elaine Stritch (22 November), David Benedict states that Noel Coward wrote Sail Away for her.

Thursday's book; Cleopatra's Wedding Present: travels through Syria by Robert Tewdwr Moss

Within the first few pages of this book its languidly English author has learnt the secret of violet-scented tea from a Syrian cloth- seller called Aladdin, met Boy George, and encountered the corpulent figure of photographer Dan Farson, who pounces on Tewdwr Moss at a restaurant, accusing him of all manner of calumny while helping himself to a plate of roasted sparrows, "stuffing them into his mouth - little ornithological corpses, sliding down into the maws of hell".

The big book of revenge

When a woman reveals the dark secrets of her marriage to a famous but domineering husband, is it kiss 'n tell, or important biographical source, asks Philip Hoare

Into the heart of the hero's homeland

Three years ago today, Transkei's favourite son was inaugurated as South Africa's president.

Secret life of knobs and pillys

Philip Hoare does a little muck-raking on our plant life; Flora Britannica by Richard Mabey, Sinclair Stevenson, pounds 30

Liars on a grand scale

Philip Hoare investigates the tricky business of film biography The Real Life of Laurence Olivier by Roger Lewis, Century, pounds 17.99 Rosebud : The Story of Orson Welles by David Thomson, Little, Brown, pounds 20

Obituary: Rose Williams

The troubled life of Rose Williams haunts the works of her brother Tennessee. Like a faded Southern belle eternally deserted, she is the model for the withdrawn, disabled "Laura Wingfield" who seeks refuge in her collection of glass animals in The Glass Menagerie. Her brother Tom declares, "Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!"
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