In a book that ranges widely over art, science, and poetry, Richard Holmes confesses to a lifetime's obsession with his Romantic subjects. It has become for him a pursuit, or pilgrimage of the heart, that has taken him across three centuries, through much of Europe, and into the lively company of many earlier biographers. Central to this quest is a powerful and tender evocation of the lives of women both scientific and literary, some well-known and some almost lost to history: Margaret Cavendish, Mary Somerville, Germaine de Staël, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the Dutch intellectual Zélide. Holmes also investigates the myths that have overshadowed the lives of some favorite Romantic figures: the love-stunned John Keats, the waterlogged Percy Bysshe Shelley, the chocolate-box painter Thomas Lawrence, the opium-soaked genius Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the mad visionary bard William Blake.
The diversity of Holmes's material is a testimony to his empathy, erudition, and inquiring spirit—and, sometimes, to his mischievous streak. The Long Pursuit gives us a unique insider's account of a biographer at work: traveling, teaching, researching, fantasizing, forgetting, and even ballooning. From this great chronicler of the Romantics now comes a chronicle of himself and his intellectual passions; it contains his most personal and most seductive writing.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Richard Holmes (Author)
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, was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, and was one of The New York Times Boo...