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With this collection of short and fascinating biographical pieces, the award-winning biographer of Coleridge and Shelley offers a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious art of biography.
When researching, Richard Holmes has often become captivated by figures peripheral to his main subject, literary forays that he couldn’t resist. These tales—he forbidden love of John Stuart Mill, the bizarre novel of Oscar Wilde’s tragic grand-uncle, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s nightmarish yet cathartic final trip to Paris—are part of what comprises Sidetracks, a marvelously original that includes letters and travelogues, radio plays, essays, and minature biographies. This book is a rare literary feast and an exploration of the creative processes of one of our most preeminent biographers.
“Something like unanimous opinion now holds Richard Holmes to be our best living biographer.” —The Wall Street Journal
“No one explores biography’s metaphysical or for that matter technical aspects better than Holmes. . . . His books read like shouts of joy.” —New York Times Book Review
“These pieces undeniably confirm why Holmes has been setting new and challenging standards for how biographers approach their subjects, and they make for glorious reading indeed.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)