To Strive, to Seek, to Find
Tennyson was the most successful English poet of the Victorian age, adored by a vast readership that included the queen herself. Yet his success was neither the triumph of pure genius nor an accident of history – as this meticulous biography demonstrates, he skilfully crafted his own career. Charting his progress from Romantic radical to Poet Laureate, it shows how he transformed personal tragedy into poetry, and how he ultimately became a prisoner of the fame he so ardently desired.
Like its companion volumes, Flora Britannica and Birds Britannica, this is a richly illustrated cultural, rather than biological guide. Here, British bugs are seen through the eyes of writers, musicians, artists, photographers and naturalists, from Elizabethan proto-entomologist Thomas Muffet (father of Little Miss Muffet) to Irvine Welsh's talking tapeworm in Filth. The result is a beguiling look at some of our 40,000 species of invertebrates – from amoebas, through worms, ants and earwigs, butterflies and beetles to molluscs – and the eccentricities of some human bug obsessives.
Living on Paper
Letters from Iris Murdoch 1934–1995
The philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch (1919–1999) would spend up to four hours a day on her correspondence, writing to friends, lovers, students, fans and even casual acquaintances. This selection of her letters, edited and introduced by Avril Horner and Anne Rowe, gives a kaleidoscopic portrait of a life lived to capacity and marked by numerous emotional imbroglios and intense friendships with fellow philosopher Philippa Foot and novelist Brigid Brophy, alongside a long and stable marriage to John Bayley.
Five Easy Pieces
Michael Holroyd, the well-known biographer, offers a short and often hilarious self-portrait in 'five easy pieces', each dominated by a motor vehicle: the moribund Ford in his grandparents' garage; the old Austin in which he learned to drive; his first car, a daffodil-coloured DAF; the cars of his biographical subjects – Augustus John's Buick and Bernard Shaw's De Dietrich; and his present Honda, with its 'extraordinarily insensitive' sat-nav.
The first icon of the silver screen, Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp remains one of cinema's most memorable characters. In this 'brief' biography, Ackroyd explores the character behind the bowler hat and baggy trousers, tracing Chaplin's progress from a background of estranged, alcoholic parents and workhouses in London, to the artistic achievements as actor and director in Hollywood that would make him 'the most famous man on earth'. American-cut pages.
Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War
Travelling through the Balkans and drawing on his own experiences there as a war correspondent in the 1990s, Tim Butcher follows the journey of Gavrilo Princip, from a village in the mountains to Sarajevo, where he shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Sisters of Fortune
Marianne, Bess, Louisa and Emily Caton: 1788–1874
Arriving in Britain from Maryland after the Battle of Waterloo, the four Caton sisters took London society by storm. Based on unpublished letters, this glorious book charts their fortunes against a glittering backdrop of money, politics and power. It tells how each overcame prejudice to forge her own destiny: Emily managed their estates back home, Bess triumphed on the London stock market, Marianne married Wellington's brother, and Louisa became Duchess of Leeds and a friend of Queen Victoria.
Spanish Culture and Memory Since 1936
The Spanish Civil War is largely known through the accounts of outsiders such as Orwell and Hemingway, with the long years of Franco's dictatorship seen as an era of silence and suppression. This compelling investigation dispels this myth, demonstrating how the memory of these events was kept alive in novels, films, paintings and sculpture. Interviewing the descendants of those killed by the regime, it examines how, in recent years, the country has begun to come to terms with its past.
The Life of Irene Nemirovsky
The discovery and publication of Suite Francaise in 2004 created a sensation, and revived interest in its author, a celebrated novelist of the 1930s whose work had fallen into neglect since her death in Auschwitz. Drawing on interviews, untapped archives, and Nemirovsky's diaries, this authoritative biography tells a story as gripping and tragic as any of her novels, from her childhood in Kiev and emigration to France after the Revolution, to the heights of literary fame and her deportation by the Nazis.
The Swordfish and the Star
Life on Cornwall's Most Treacherous Stretch of Coast
Cornish waters are some of the richest fishing grounds in Britain, but they are dangerous and the fishermen who work them a hardy breed. Beyond the tourist shops and second homes of the Penwith Peninsula, this book discovers an ancient community, deeply connected to the sea, and paints a picture of their lives through the authentic voices of local characters in places such as Mousehole, St Just and St Ives – and the Swordfish and Star pubs of Newlyn's quay.
Who is Ozymandias?
And Other Puzzles in Poetry
Part of the pleasure of poetry is unravelling its mysteries. Who is Ozymandias? What is the Snark? Who is Crazy Jane? In this playful, perceptive book, the acclaimed poet John Fuller teases out the conundrums, double-entendres, red herrings and misleading titles of some of our best-loved poetry, from Shelley and Browning to Eliot and Bishop, to help us reach the rewards and revelations at its heart.