Home            Emlyn Williams: A Life
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For more information on Emlyn Williams, please visit the fan site: http://www.mooncove.com/emlynwilliams/.
 
For access to Emlyn Williams papers, please see the National Library of Wales (http://www.archiveswales.org.uk/anw/get_collection.php?inst_id=1&coll_id=423&expand=).

Events
None currently known
 
If you know of any events concerning Emlyn Williams or his works, please let us know:
contact@drjamesharding.co.uk


Emlyn Williams: A Life, published 1993, was Harding's sixth biography set against the backdrop of early 20th century British theatre.
Reviews of Emlyn Williams:     A Life
'...an excellent biography...full of anecdote and wit...' The Oldie







The book
In his biography of Emlyn Williams (1905-1987), Harding depicts a man of many paradoxes.  Though kind and warm-hearted in private life, Williams was at the same time obsessed with child murderers and the psychopathology of killers and blackmailers.  An adoring husband who never ceased to write ardent love letters to his wife, he remained an inveterate bisexual.  The strange duality that pervaded his life is subtly and skilfully recounted in this absorbing biography, which has had full access to Williams' papers.  Here can be found the friends closest to him: the formidable schoolteacher Miss Cooke, Richard Burton whom he 'discovered', John Gielgud, with whom he starred in management, Noël Coward, godfather to one of his sons, Sybil Thorndike, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier.      
The man
Emlyn Williams was a bare-foot boy from Wales, son of a ship's stoker and a lady's maid, who moved out of poverty, by way of hard-won scholarships to Oxford and a degree in modern languages, and then, to great success as a playwright and actor on the West End stage.  Williams prospered in the theatre for more than fifty years with plays such as Night Must Fall, an eerie study of a pathological murderer, and The Corn is Green, which paid moving tribute to the schoolteacher who encouraged him.  Despite a marriage to Molly Shaun in 1935, he was actively bisexual throughout his life, his homosexual relations were frankly detailed in his autobiography published in two parts George (1961) and Emlyn (1973).  When the 'angry young men' of the 1960s, playwrights such as Pinter and Simpson, invaded the theatre with new ideas and fashions, unlike the hostile Noël Coward, Williams sympathised with their freedom from censorship and starred in their plays.  He even forged a new career for himself by travelling the world in his own one-man shows based on Charles Dickens, Dylan Thomas and Saki.