Holmes, Richard Shelley: The Pursuit

ISBN 13: 9780007204588

Shelley: The Pursuit

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9780007204588: Shelley: The Pursuit

A fantastic reissue of Richard Holmes’ epic biography of this most enigmatic and intriguing of the Romantic poets. This is simply one of the greatest biographical achievements of recent years.

Shelley, the most neglected of all the great Romantic poets, was born in Sussex in 1792 and died in Tuscany in 1822, a brief life packed with love affairs, alarums and excursions. Holmes’s book offers a serious and critical reappraisal of Shelley as a man and a writer; all his prose and poetry is carefully re-examined, his sense of spiritual and geographical isolation brilliantly described and a detailed portrait of his macabre imaginative life slowly assembled.

Shelley’s intense friendships with some of the most remarkable figures of his age fill Holmes’s pages with a vivid parorama of revolutionary idealism and recklessness. To this is added the private story of Shelley’s tortuous romantic liaisons, complications which affected both the peculiar tenor of his daily life and the remotest conceptions of his poetry.

This is a stunning, entrancing biography of a fascinating subject, and a timely reissue of an absolutely seminal work.

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Review:

‘If the art of biography was ever damned, “Shelley: The Pursuit” redeemed it.’ New York Times

‘The best biography of Shelley ever written. The great emphasis that Mr. Holmes lays on Shelley’s politics, philosophy and social activities corrects the usual view of an extraordinarily idealised, ethereal, spiritualized kind of poetry combined with an extraordinarily incoherent life. He has taken the Shelley story out of the realm of myth and made it far more convincing and significant.’ Sir Stephen Spender

‘An unquestionably great biography which banished forever the image of the poet as an ineffectual angel.’ Independent on Sunday

From the Back Cover:

'Shelley: the Pursuit', which won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1974 when it was originally published, was Richard Holmes's extraordinary first book. Now, after twenty years, it has established itself as a classic account of one of the great rebels in Romantic literature. 'It was an attempt,' reflects Holmes in his new Preface, 'to write biography as a form of modern epic.'

Shelley was born in Sussex in 1792 and was drowned in the Gulf of Spezia in Tuscany in 1822, a brief life packed with love affairs, alarms and excursions. Holmes's book offers a serious critical reappraisal of Shelley as a man, a thinker and a writer; all his prose and poetry is carefully re-examined and a detailed portrait of his macabre imaginative life slowly assembled. In his literary, sexual and political philosophy he was striving for standards of freedom abhorrent to most of the society of his day, and felt as a result a sense of being exiled, both spiritually and geographically.

Whatever his spiritual isolation, Shelley was a child of his era, and the book builds up a sharp picture of the political and social conditions in Regency England and post-Napoleonic Europe. His intense friendships with the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, the satirist Thomas Love Peacock, the brooding aristocratic poet Byron, the brilliant young novelist Mary Godwin (who became Shelley's second wife and – not coincidentally – the author of 'Frankenstein'), and many other remarkable figures of that explosive age fill Holmes's pages with a vivid panorama of revolutionary idealism and recklessness. To this is added the tortuous private story of Shelley's romantic liaisons, most problematically with Mary's half-sister Claire Clairmont, complications which affected both the peculiar tenor of his daily life and the remotest conceptions of his poetry.

"The best biography of Shelley ever written… Mr Holmes makes Shelley's character entirely convincing by showing us the poet at every stage of his development acting upon, and reacting to, people and events… The great emphasis that Mr Holmes lays on Shelley's politics, philosophy and social activities corrects the usual view of an extraordinarily idealised, ethereal, spiritualised kind of poetry combined with an extraordinarily incoherent life…He has taken the Shelley story out of the realm of myth and made it far more convincing and significant."
SIR STEPHEN SPENDER

"Richard Holmes's towering biography… was the first book I read about Shelley, and it led me to perhaps fifty others, none of which came within a million mile of Richard Holmes's."
PAUL FOOT, in his book 'Red Shelley'

"If the art of biography was ever damned, 'Shelley: The Pursuit' redeems it."
NEW YORK TIMES

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Richard Holmes
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Book Description 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 197mm x 194mm. Paperback. A fantastic reissue of Richard Holmes' epic biography of this most enigmatic and intriguing of the Romantic poets. This is simply one of the greatest biographical achievements of recent ye.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 848 pages. 0.610. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007204588

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Richard Holmes
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Book Description Harper Perennial, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007204582

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