Simon Callow is an English actor and director who has written books about Orson Welles, Charles Dickens, and Shakespeare. His latest book, Being Wagner: The Story of the Most Provocative Composer Who Ever Lived, will be published in paperback this year. (February 2018)
It is hard to find anyone under fifty who has the slightest idea who Paul Robeson is, or what he was, which is astonishing—as a singer, of course, and as an actor, his work is of the highest order. But his significance as an emblematic figure is even greater, crucial to an understanding of the American twentieth century.