Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (King Penguin)

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9780140088601: Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (King Penguin)

Richard Holmes knew he had become a true biographer the day his bank bounced a check that he had inadvertently dated 1772. Because for the acclaimed chronicler of Shelley and Coleridge, biography is a physical pursuit, an ardent and arduous retracing of footsteps that may have vanished centuries before.
 
In this gripping book, Holmes takes us from France’s Massif Central, where he followed the route taken by Robert Louis Stevenson and a sweet-natured donkey, to Mary Wollstonecraft’s Revolutionary Paris, to the Italian villages where Percy Shelley tried to cast off the strictures of English morality and marriage. Footsteps is a wonderful exploration of the ties between biographers and their subjects, filled with passion and revelations.
 
“Deeply impressive . . . Footsteps is a singular event in the modern history of biography, and in itself a delightful reading experience.”—Alfred Kazin
 
“This exhilarating book, part biography, part autobiography, shows the biographer as sleuth and huntsman, tracking his subjects through space and time.”—The Observer
 
“A modern masterpiece . . . [Holmes is] the most romantic of contemporary biographers and probably the most revolutionary in spirit and form.”—Michael Holroyd, author of Bernard Shaw

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About the Author:

Richard Holmes is the author of The Age of Wonder, which was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books and the National Books Critics Circle Award, and was one of the New York Times Book Review's Best Books of the Year in 2009. Holmes's other books include This Long Pursuit, Footsteps, Sidetracks, Shelley: The Pursuit (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Coleridge: Early Visions (winner of the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Award), Coleridge: Darker Reflections (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage (winner of the James Tait Black Prize). He was awarded the OBE in 1992. He lives in England.

From Library Journal:

Follow the footsteps of this absorbing and delightful author as he attempts to trace the paths of four sometimes intractable, but always fascinating, Romantic writers. Robert Louis Stevenson's travels through the Cevennes with a donkey; Mary Wollstonecraft's revolutionary Paris and friends; Percy B. Shelley's Italian exile (a postscript to Holmes's acclaimed Shelley biography); and Gerard de Nerval's deranged vision and sad pilgrimage are all presented with rigor, charm, and historical and personal sleuthwork. Holmes's interest in each biographical subject is palpable and seems at times a fixation. But he rewards the reader with a growing understanding of each writer's life, as well as much insight into the technique and art of biography. Enjoyable, informative reading for literati, this book is recommended for larger general and academic collections. Carol J. Lichtenberg, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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