Richard Burton’s diaries are not those of a man afraid to take a harsh look at himself: “How dumb and boring I must have been for the greater part of my life”; “I am, I think, sublimely selfish”; “I could have cut out my vile tongue with a blunt razor. From what twisted root did that bastard tree grow?”; “I do, of course, choose my moments well to shout at my wife, like after her father’s funeral.” He accuses himself of “savage ill humour,” “absolutely unstoppably filthy moods, insulting everybody left right and centre,” and “venomous malice.”
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