Tynan, Kenneth, 1927-1980

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1927-04-02
Death 1980-07-26
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Epithet: theatre critic and impresario

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000561.0x00000d

Director and theater personality. Kenneth Tynan, born in Birmingham, England, stuttered as a child but was highly precocious, and was already keeping a diary by the age of six. A brilliant pupil at Kind Edward's School in Birmingham, Tynan won a scholarship to Oxford at the end of WWII, where he became an intellectual and social leader among the undergraduates. Noted for his flamboyant dress and extravagant style, he wrote and edited Oxford college magazines, and was tutored by C. S. Lewis, for whom he retained a life-long admiration. Tynan's active career as a theater critic began in 1952, when he was hired by the London Evening Standard. Two years later he left for The Observer and quickly rose to prominence, championing the new realism in the theater of "The Angry Young Men" and playwrights such as Samuel Beckett. In the late Fifties he became known in the United States through a series of reviews in The New Yorker. In 1963 he was appointed Literary Manager of the British Royal National Theatre, where he established a global reputation. Controversy marked Tynan's later career, and his battles against censorship led to such works as the erotic revue Oh! Calcutta!, which became one of the most successful theatre hits of all time. He remained at the National Theatre until 1973. From the mid-1970s on, he worked on a series of projects exploring sexual themes, including sadomasochism. Tynan died in Santa Monica, California in 1980 at the age of 53. The publication of his diaries in 2001 led to renewed controversy due to their frank discussion of sexuality and his personal life. The editor of the diaries noted in his introduction that passages were omitted that the publishers thought might lead to charges of slander.

From the description of Papers, 1939-2001 (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 727064707

Director and theater critic Kenneth Tynan, born in Birmingham, England, stuttered as a child but was highly precocious, and was already keeping a diary by the age of six. A brilliant pupil at Kind Edward's School in Birmingham, Tynan won a scholarship to Oxford at the end of WWII, where he became an intellectual and social leader among the undergraduates. Noted for his flamboyant dress and extravagant style, he wrote and edited Oxford college magazines, and was tutored by C. S. Lewis, for whom he retained a life-long admiration.

Tynan's active career as a theater critic began in 1952, when he was hired by the London Evening Standard . Two years later he left for The Observer and quickly rose to prominence, championing the new realism in the theater of "The Angry Young Men" and playwrights such as Samuel Beckett. In the late Fifties he became known in the United States through a series of reviews in The New Yorker . In 1963 he was appointed Literary Manager of the British Royal National Theatre, where he established a global reputation. Controversy marked Tynan's later career, and his battles against censorship led to such works as the erotic revue Oh! Calcutta!, which became one of the most successful theatre hits of all time. He remained at the National Theatre until 1973. From the mid-1970s on, he worked on a series of projects exploring sexual themes, including sadomasochism. Tynan died in Santa Monica, California in 1980 at the age of 53. The publication of his diaries in 2001 led to renewed controversy due to their frank discussion of sexuality and his personal life. The editor of the diaries noted in his introduction that passages were omitted that the publishers thought might lead to charges of slander.

From the guide to the Tynan, Kenneth mss., 1939-2001, (Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington))

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Subjects:

  • Theater critics--Diaries

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