Topping Entertainment

Frank Kermode

  • Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten edited by John Evans
    Faber, 576 pp, £25.00, November 2009, ISBN 978 0 571 23883 5

A two-volume collection of Britten’s letters and diaries, entitled Letters from a Life and edited by Donald Mitchell and Philip Reed, appeared in 1991, and its first volume covers the same period as this new collection; but there was plenty of work for the new editor, John Evans. The diaries were begun when Britten was 15 and ended, rather abruptly, when he was 25. They were written in pocket diaries, the earlier entries mostly fitting into the space allowed by the format, four days per page. As his interests widened Britten progressed to a page a day.

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