Lytton Strachey, genius, wit, iconoclast, biographer, pacifist, and homosexual campaigner, was at the nexus of the literary and artistic life of Bloomsbury.
Lytton Strachey, genius, wit, iconoclast, biographer, pacifist, and homosexual campaigner, was at the nexus of the literary and artistic life of Bloomsbury. In the 1960s he was seen as a progenitor of the hippy cult. Now he appears as a far more subversive and challenging figure. He revolutionised the writing of biography and smuggled deviant sexual behaviour into our history in his reassessment of Elizabethan and Victorian times. For this re-telling of his story Holroyd has had access to published and unpublished material unavailable in the 1960s when his biography of Strachey first appeared. In many of Bloomsbury's three-cornered relationships, he had only two sides of the triangle. Now he has all three, and in a new social and political climate can tell the full story of this extraordinary world with candour, sympathy and sexual explicitness. He has cut 100, 000 words, revised much of the text and added a wealth of new material, about Strachey himself, about Maynard Keynes, Duncan Grant, Rupert Brooke and most vividly about the tragic life of Strachey's companion Dora Carrington
When Michael Holroyd's life of Strachey first appeared in the late 1960s, it was hailed as a landmark in contemporary biography. Drawing on new material, published and unpublished, Holroyd completely revised and rewrote his masterwork in 1995 to tell the full story of this complex man and his world as it could not be told while many of Strachey's friends and lovers were still alive. At the heart of the story is the poignant liasion between Strachey and the painter Dora Carrington. A panorama of the social, literary, political and sexual life of a generation, Lytton Strachey reverberates in the mind like a great novel. 'Masterly: full of new insights on Strachey, including his strange love affair with Dora Carrington. She becomes the heroine of the book, and her death at the end brings tears to the eyes.' Sunday Express 'You will be won over by Strachey's originality, independence and humanity; by his hatred of humbug and prudery; by his life-saving gift for comedy.' Richard Shone, Evening Standard 'Holroyd's prose, in this second version, is as elegant as ever. He is also one of the few biographers who has retained a pronounced sense of humour.' Peter Ackroyd, The Times
Besides the biographies of Augustus John, Bernard Shaw and Lytton Strachey (which was filmed as Carrington), Michael Holroyd has written two volumes of memoirs, Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. He is the current president of the Royal Society of Literature and the only non-fiction writer to have been awarded the British Literature Prize. He lives in London and Somerset with his wife, the novelist Margaret Drabble.
"Written with vivacity and scrupulousness.... [Michael Holroyd] has a great novelist's sense of the obstinate mystery of the human person."
A work of genius, acknowledged as a landmark in contemporary biography now completely revised and rewritten to tell the FULL story of Strachey, Dora Carrington and Bloomsbury which previous could not be told.
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