Shelley : The Pursuit

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A fantastic reissue of Richard Holmes' epic biography of this most enigmatic and intriguing of the Romantic poets. This is simply one of the greatest biographical achievements of recent years. Shelley, the most neglected of all the great Romantic poets, was born in Sussex in 1792 and died in Tuscany in 1822, a brief life packed with love affairs, alarums and excursions. Holmes's book offers a serious and critical reappraisal of Shelley as a man and a writer; all his prose and poetry is carefully re-examined, his sense of spiritual and geographical isolation brilliantly described and a detailed portrait of his macabre imaginative life slowly assembled. Shelley's intense friendships with some of the most remarkable figures of his age fill Holmes's pages with a vivid parorama of revolutionary idealism and recklessness. To this is added the private story of Shelley's tortuous romantic liaisons, complications which affected both the peculiar tenor of his daily life and the remotest conceptions of his poetry. This is a stunning, entrancing biography of a fascinating subject, and a timely reissue of an absolutely seminal work.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 848 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 56mm | 580.6g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperPerennial
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 24 b/w plates (24pp)
  • 0007204582
  • 9780007204588
  • 118,905

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Review quote

'If the art of biography was ever damned, "Shelley: The Pursuit" redeemed it.' New York Times 'The best biography of Shelley ever written. The great emphasis that Mr. Holmes lays on Shelley's politics, philosophy and social activities corrects the usual view of an extraordinarily idealised, ethereal, spiritualized kind of poetry combined with an extraordinarily incoherent life. He has taken the Shelley story out of the realm of myth and made it far more convincing and significant.' Sir Stephen Spender 'An unquestionably great biography which banished forever the image of the poet as an ineffectual angel.' Independent on Sunday

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About Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes is Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia, and editor of the Harper Perennial series Classic Biographies launched in 2004. His is a Fellow of the British Academy, has honorary doctorates from UEA and the Tavistock Institute, and was awarded an OBE in 1992. His first book, 'Shelley: The Pursuit', won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1974. 'Coleridge: Early Visions' won the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year, and 'Dr Johnson & Mr Savage' won the James Tait Black Prize. 'Coleridge: Darker Reflections', won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Heinemann Award. He has published two studies of European biography, 'Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer' in 1985, and 'Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer' in 2000. His most recent book 'The Romantic Poets and their Circle' was published by the National Portrait Gallery in 2005. He lives in London and Norwich with the novelist Rose Tremain.

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