8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating and unusual,
This review is from: Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (Paperback)
On the cover of my copy of this book Michael Holroyd describes it as "A modern masterpiece". That's going a bit far but if you are interested in the Romantics this is a book you must read. Richard Holmes tells a series of tales of his own very personal pursuit of Robert Louis Stevenson in the Cevennes, Mary Wollstonecraft and (to a lesser extent) Wordsworth in France and particularly Paris, Shelley in Italy and Gerard de Nerval all over the place.
What makes this book particularly fascinating and unusual is the part played in these tales by the author himself. Surrounded by these literary giants it is Holmes himself who is the hero of the story. And hero he is. The author is clearly obsessed with his subject (in this context something to be admired) and pushes himself to the limits of his mental and to a lesser extent physical limits in pursuit of his quarry. For instance, we are told that when Holmes was writing his subsequent book on Shelley he wrote only at night, catching up on his sleep during the day and that the whole task was accomplished in a state of black depression. This man is serious!
There are so many more good things to say about this book but it's only 275 pages long so why not get a copy and read it? You won't regret it. And when you've finished be certain to read Holmes' peerless two part biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge; "Early Visions" and "Darker Reflections", the finest literary biographies ever written.
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Initial post: 27 Dec 2011 11:34:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Dec 2011 11:39:53 GMT
Chris Chamberlain says:
Can someone tell me the relationship between this book and the later 'Sidetracks Explorations of a Romantic Biographer'? Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 10:35:54 BDT
The latter's a grab-bag of miscellanea piggybacking on the earlier title
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