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Culture Watch: Judi Dench's 'And Furthermore'

March 8, 2011 |  9:00 am

Judi Judi Dench, "And Furthermore"

(St. Martin's Press, 268 pp; $26.99)

Please don’t accuse Dame Judi of having written her autobiography. "I have neither the time nor the skill," Dench insists, reminding with her customary cucumber crispness that biographies are available for those wanting a more detailed accounting.

This book is a review of her acting career, one of the most celebrated in 20th century British theater, and still going strong on both sides of the pond well into her dazzling seniority. The style is anecdotal, the tone is chatty, and the backstage reminiscences are engaging if not particularly revelatory. But it's always a delight to be in the company of an artist of such uncommon common sense.
Of acting awards, this Oscar winner (for her brief appearance as Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love") confesses to a discomfort with the way performers are pitted against one another in a media-crazed horse race. "That is not to say that when I have won awards I haven't been absolutely thrilled — I have — but I suspect deep down that it is something that goes a bit against the grain," she says. "Acting is such a personal, imperfect kind of art."

— Charles McNulty\charlesmcnulty