THE BETTER HALF - A COMEDY IN ONE ACT
[London?]: . 25 sheets of the typescript for the stage play "The Better Half," composing of 24 numbered sheets plus the cover page. Measuring approximately 19x24cm, the group have been folded in half vertically. The extremities show some wear, primarily on the cover sheet and pages 23/24. Paperclip rust marks are present along the upper edge.;
The sheets are housed in a cut-open envelope (never mailed) with "M.S.S. of The Better Half by Noel C" written in his hand. Notably, the "oward" is written in blue ink rather than the black of the rest, and probably in a different hand.;
Two pages (8, 21) with pencil changes and eleven (11, 12, 15-23) with pen, possibly in Coward's hand. A full list of changes along with a copy of 'London’s Grand Guignol and the Theatre of Horror' By Richard J. Hand and Michael Wilson, University of Exeter Press, 2008, which provides a full script of the copy found in the British Library, will be provided.; Many of the changes are minor, either correcting grammar or punctuation, but the second half in particular has dozens of more significant changes.; This copy appears to have been based on the copy submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, but adjusted for formatting and with substantial edits. It is unknown if this version would have been resubmitted to the Lord Chamberlain or if it was ever performed in this format. It is possible these changes were considered minor enough to not need further censorship, they were done after the play was preformed, or even that it belonged to an actor.; It would benefit from further scholarly research, as its place in the creation of the play is unknown.
CX consignment; shelved case 0.
Shelved Dupont Bookstore
"The Better Half is a one-act play by Noël Coward first performed in 1922 by the Grand Guignol theatre company, directed by Lewis Casson. It was thought to be lost until the original script was found in the British Library in 2007." [wikipedia];
Professor Mike Wilson, who together with Professor Richard Hand discovered the script in the lord chamberlain's archive at the British Library, said in 2007: "We spoke to the Noel Coward estate and they thought it was the only copy in existence. It is only a short play and was written two years before he wrote The Vortex and before he became famous." [BBC News, 13 September 2007];
Subsequent to the 2007 discovery, the University of Birmingham identified a second copy that currently resides with them. Discussions with the Noel Coward Archive Trust and an exhaustive search of library and museum holdings lead us to believe this is the third currently known copy.