Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer

Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer


By (author) Richard Holmes

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Paperback $10.91
  • Publisher: Flamingo
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 20mm | 41g
  • Publication date: 23 October 1995
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0006548407
  • ISBN 13: 9780006548409
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 725,717

Product description

Richard Holmes's great work of biographical exploration, rejacketed and republished alongside its sister volume 'Sidetracks'. In 1985, Richard Holmes published a small book of essays called 'Footsteps' and the writing of biography was changed forever. A daring mix of travel, biographical sleuthing and personal memoir, it broke all the conventions of the genre and remains ons of the most intoxicating, magical works of modern literary exploration ever published. Sleeping rough, he retraces Robert Louis Stevenson's famous journey through the Cevennes. Caught up in the Parisian riots of the 1960s, he dives back in time to the terrors of Wordsworth and of Mary Wollstonecraft marooned in Revolutionary Paris and then into the strange tortured worlds of Gerard de Nerval. Wandering through Italy, he stalks Shelley and his band of Romantic idealists to Casa Magni on the Gulf of Spezia.

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Author information

Richard Holmes is our greatest living biographer. His biography of Shelley won the Somerset Maugham Prize. Footsteps (1985) revolutionized the way biography was thought about and written. The first part of his biography of Coleridge won the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Prize. His portrait of the friendship between Dr Johnson and Mr Savage won the James Tait Black Prize. The concluding volume of his Coleridge biography won the Duff Cooper Prize and the William Heinemann award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy, and lives in London and Norwich with the novelist Rose Tremain.

Review quote

'This exhilarating book, part biography, part autobiography, shows the biographer as sleuth and huntsman, tracking his subjects through space and time.' Hilary Spurling, Observer 'Nothing is simple in this intricate, complicated and fascinating book, which is like a set of Russian dolls, biography containing travel-writing containing autobiography containing and so on!Holmes is indeed a biographer and a romantic in every sense.' Richard Boston, Guardian

Editorial reviews

With a head full of centuries past, Holmes traced Robert Louis Stevenson's journey by donkey through the Cevennes and witnessed the 1960s riots in Paris through the eyes of Wordsworth and Mary Wollstonecraft - revolutionaries of another era. In Italy, the poet Shelley is his travelling companion. Holmes's lesson is that the best person to take along with you on a journey is a dead one, who will illuminate not only what is there in front of your very eyes, but what was once there and the promise of what might have been. (Kirkus UK)