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Gastro-modernismFood, Literature, Culture$
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Derek Gladwin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954682

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781942954682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 11 April 2021

Cocktails with Noël Coward

Cocktails with Noël Coward

(p.99) Chapter Six Cocktails with Noël Coward

Gregory Mackie

Liverpool University Press

Commenting on the celebrity his 1924 hit The Vortex afforded him, Noël Coward noted that he “was seldom mentioned in the press without allusions to ‘cocktails,’ ‘post-war hysteria,’ and ‘decadence.’” This chapter investigates the potent mixture of thematic and stylistic ingredients that render the onstage cocktail the signature of Coward’s brand of popular modernism. It does so by situating his refined drinkers within the popular culture of the interwar period, when drinking cocktails connoted a fashionable rejection of outmoded Victorianism. Staged in in some of British modernism’s defining spaces, cocktails in Coward’s plays are bibulous supplements to the witty dialogue he described as “small talk, a lot of small talk, with other thoughts going on behind.” To sip a cocktail in a Coward play is thus to enact a self that is up to date, metropolitan, sophisticated – a concoction of ingredients whose flavour is indelibly modern.

Keywords:   Noël Coward, cocktails, drinks, Savoy Hotel, prohibition, drama, Art Deco, glamour

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