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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'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 idealized, etheral, 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
About Richard Holmes
Richard Holmes is the author of The Age of Wonder, which won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was one of the ten New York Times' Best Books of the Year in 2009. His balloon book, Falling Upwards, was chosen as a Best Book of the Year by seven newspapers in 2013. His other biographies include Shelley: The Pursuit (winner of the 1974 Somerset Maugham Prize), Coleridge: Early Visions (winner of the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Award), Coleridge: Darker Reflections (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Duff Cooper Prize), and Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage (winner of the 1993 James Tait Black Prize). This Long Pursuit completes the autobiographical trilogy begun in Footsteps (1985) and Sidetracks (2000). Holmes was awarded the OBE in 1992, and was elected an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, in 2010. He is the 2018 winner of the BIO Award presented by the Biographers International Organization for sustained achievement in biography. He lives in London and Norwich with the novelist Rose Tremain.
Shelley: The Pursuit by Richard Holmes
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