The Shadow in the Garden
A Biographer's Tale
James Atlas, the biographer of the American poet Delmore Schwartz and the novelist Saul Bellow, reflects on the pursuit of literary biography and tells his own story as a biographer, from his student days studying under Richard Ellman at Oxford, to his ‘archaic laments’ in the age of email; but also traces the history of biography and great literary biographers, from Plutarch’s Lives to Richard Holmes’s Coleridge.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire
Books & Birds
‘Triangulating between the bird, the world and literature’, Alex Preston’s book brings together a vast range of writing about birds and his own very personal experience as a birdwatcher, book-lover and novelist. Arranged by 21 bird species, each one illustrated by Neil Gower, the book quotes poets and prose writers as diverse as Dark Age poets, John Clare and Richard Mabey, looking always for writing that ‘makes the birds take shape in the mind in a way that is new yet immediately familiar’.
Dogs of Courage
When Britain's Pets Went to War 1939–45
From 1939, when people were advised that if they couldn't send their pets to the country in wartime, 'it really is kindest to have them destroyed', to the Dickin Medals awarded at the end of the war, Clare Campbell tells the story of the dogs' war effort, whether conscripted to serve on the battlefields as messengers or mine detectors, or as rescue dogs working in the rubble of bombed buildings, sniffing out survivors on the home front.