Noël Coward and the Sitwells: enmity, celebrity, popularity

Faye Hammill

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In 1923, the year of the first public performance of Edith Sitwell and William Walton’s Façade, Noël Coward satirized the Sitwell siblings in his sketch “The Swiss Family Whittlebot.” The result was an enduring feud between Coward and the Sitwells that shaped their celebrity personae and inflected responses to their work in the periodical press. They confronted each other across a class divide, and also across the perceived barrier between difficult modernism and accessible popular entertainment. Yet, in spite of these oppositional stances, certain convergences in their styles of writing and performance suggest a possible appeal to a shared audience. The interconnectedness of Coward’s work with Edith Sitwell’s, in particular, can be discerned on the level of literary style, influences, and parodic strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-148
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Modern Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Noël Coward
  • Edith Sitwell
  • Osbert Sitwell
  • modernism
  • magazines


Noel Coward, popularity and print culture (BA Mid-Career Fellowship)

Hammill, F.

British Academy


Project: Research Fellowship

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