One of the pleasures of being a toiler in the groves of academe is that you get to work alongside some truly remarkable people. One such is my colleague Harriet Devine. Harriet’s academic reputation rests on her work on eighteenth and nineteenth century authors. She is a highly respected academic in her field, but has also led a remarkable life. Her latest publication is an autobiographical piece, which is a joy to read. As the daughter of George Devine, founder and leading light of the Royal Court Theatre, she had an unusual girlhood, punctuated by visits from Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft and other leading actors of the day. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes about some very well-known people, illustrated with some very evocative photographs from Harriet’s collection.
Harriet writes beautifully, in a clear and entertaining style. She is very honest about herself and the people she encountered. The result is a fascinating book, which should be read by anybody with an interest in British post-war theatre and culture. I’m already looking forward to the second volume.
The Devine Harriet by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.