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Tag: Biography

The biographer’s tale

In 1994 I asked Roy Jenkins if I could write his biography. By the time he finally agreed, three years later, he was about to embark on his Churchill biography and I was about to start working for Tony Blair.…
Andrew Adonis  

The curse of Henry James

The spate of novels about Henry James seems odd even to Michiel Heyns, who wrote one of them. But to reclaim a principle of mastery, novelists seem willing to violate a life
Michiel Heyns  

A transcendent introvert

Drawn inwards by both his insular upbringing and his genius, Glenn Gould's life was almost devoid of incident. This is what makes it fascinating
Erik Tarloff  

George at 100

The last job for Orwell biographers is to examine his faults and catalogue his enemies. But it only serves to confirm his virtues
Geoffrey Wheatcroft  

The shadows of Suez

Suez cast a long shadow over Anthony Eden's political career. But the crisis left surprisingly little transatlantic or cross-channel rancour, says Philip Goodhart
Philip Goodhart  

Interviewing the interviewer

Janet Malcolm once wrote about the duplicitous relationship of journalists to their subjects. Elena Lappin talked to Malcolm, less about her Chekhov book than herself
Elena Lappin  

Death by naturalism

How close can fiction come to describing reality? The British author BS Johnson embarked on a quest for absolute literary naturalism which ended in his suicide.
Jonathan Coe  

Lives of the mind

What explains the recent fashion for biographies of philosophers? Why do so few of them combine both good philosophy and vivid writing?
AC Grayling  

Levi’s inferno

As German Jews held to the culture of Goethe, so Primo Levi summoned Dante in Auschwitz. His struggle was with literature as well as testimony
Joseph Farrell