– How to Use This Book –
T he primary aim of this book is to reflect the wit and wisdom of the theatre in a wide-ranging selection of quotations which can be dipped into at random or read section by section. The titles of the sections are found in the contents list at the front of the book.
The index is biographical, giving the dates where known, and a brief description of the person concerned, then listing all references to them in the book. This index includes details of people written about (e.g. Mary Betterton) and of people quoted (e.g. George Jean Nathan). Obviously there are many people who come into both categories (e.g. Olivier). Including biographical information in the text would mean cumbersome repetition. However, understanding the wider context of the quotations enhances their value and I recommend using this index extensively.
A few conventions have been used which might possibly be unfamiliar to some readers. Ibid means that a quotation comes from the same author and source as the quotation immediately preceding it; fl. in the biographical index means that I do not have exact dates of birth and death of the person named but that he or she flourished around the date indicated.