Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer

Footsteps Adventures of a Romantic Biographer Richard Holmes s great work of biographical exploration rejacketed and republished alongside its sister volume Sidetracks In Richard Holmes published a small book of essays called Footsteps and

  • Title: Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer
  • Author: RichardHolmes
  • ISBN: 9780007204533
  • Page: 350
  • Format: Paperback
  • Richard Holmes s great work of biographical exploration, rejacketed and republished alongside its sister volume Sidetracks In 1985, Richard Holmes published a small book of essays called Footsteps and the writing of biography was changed forever A daring mix of travel, biographical sleuthing and personal memoir, it broke all the conventions of the genre and remains one oRichard Holmes s great work of biographical exploration, rejacketed and republished alongside its sister volume Sidetracks In 1985, Richard Holmes published a small book of essays called Footsteps and the writing of biography was changed forever A daring mix of travel, biographical sleuthing and personal memoir, it broke all the conventions of the genre and remains one of the most intoxicating, magical works of modern literary exploration ever published Sleeping rough, he retraces Robert Louis Stevenson s famous journey through the Cevennes Caught up in the Parisian riots of the 1960s, he dives back in time to the terrors of Wordsworth and of Mary Wollstonecraft marooned in Revolutionary Paris and then into the strange tortured worlds of Gerard de Nerval Wandering through Italy, he stalks Shelley and his band of Romantic idealists to Casa Magni on the Gulf of Spezia.

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    About "RichardHolmes"

    1. RichardHolmes

      Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread for information.Biographer Richard Holmes was born in London, England on 5 November 1945 and educated at Downside School and Churchill College, Cambridge His first book, Shelley The Pursuit, was published in 1974 and won a Somerset Maugham Award The first volume of his biography of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge Early Visions, was published in 1989 and won the Whitbread Book of the Year award Dr Johnson Mr Savage 1993 , an account of Johnson s undocumented friendship with the notorious poet Richard Savage, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography in 1993 The second volume of his study of Coleridge, Coleridge Darker Reflections, was published in 1998 It won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Heinemann Award and was shortlisted for the first Samuel Johnson Prize awarded in 1999 Richard Holmes writes and reviews regularly for various journals and newspapers, including the New York Review of Books His most recent book, Sidetracks Explorations of a Romantic Biographer 2000 , continues the exploration of his own highly original biographical method that he first wrote about in Footsteps Adventures of a Romantic Biographer 1985 He is also editor of a new series of editions of classic English biographies that includes work by Samuel Johnson, Daniel Defoe and William Godwin His latest book, The Age of Wonder 2008 , is an examination of the life and work of the scientists of the Romantic age who laid the foundations of modern science It was shortlisted for the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize.He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded an OBE in 1992 He was awarded an honorary Litt.D in 2000 by the University of East Anglia, where he was appointed Professor of Biographical Studies in September 2001.

    909 thoughts on “Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer”

    1. Iba leyendo este libro de Richard Holmes (Londres, 1945) y cuando llevaba unas 30 páginas dedicadas a Stevenson, no me convencía, más bien me aburría lo que leía e hice un parón. Una opción era abandonar el libro definitivamente, otra -ventajas que tienen libros de estas características- era abordarlo por cualquiera de los otros tres autores retratados por Holmes. Me decanté por las páginas finales, las que que Holmes dedica a Gérard de Nerval y el texto se puso entonces muy interesan [...]


    2. Subtitled "Adventures of a Romantic Biographer," this book gives the backstory of Holmes' youthful pursuit of the places inhabited by his literary heroes, a practice that led him to become a masterful biographer (primarily of the Romantic poets.) He traces the path of Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey, Wordsworth and Mary Wollstonecraft's experiences in Paris during the French Revolution, Shelley's wanderings around Italy, and Nerval in Paris.This is an exciting edge of biography, not the facts [...]


    3. Reunión de cuatro breves estudios biográficos sobre varios escritores del siglo XIX en los que es tan apasionante la descripción de sus peripecias como los del propio autor, que va deslizando un auténtico tratado de metodología de investigación y reflexión sobre este género. Especialmente emotivo y profundo es el que dedica a Nerval, por el misterio que supuso su vida y su obra.


    4. Richard Holmes is on my personal short list of the very best nonfiction writers living today. The man is amazing. He seems to be incapable of making false steps. It was three years ago that I read my first Holmes title, The Age of Wonder, and I still refer to it all the time. It’s a masterpiece. Falling Upwards, if less ambitious, was almost as rewarding, and more fun.I’m moving now into Holmes’ back catalog with Footsteps, and my admiration only grows. Holmes is primarily known as a biogr [...]


    5. “il buon tempo arriva”This informative, but rather dull, biography, how-to-write a biography, autobiography of Richard holmes, who wrote about Shelley, Coleridge, and “dr Johnson and mr savage” (winner of the james tait black award) does have some interesting bits, about how holmes went about researching his topics and what angle he was coming from to write a good biography.So, from above you see shelley’s Italian motto (he inscribed it on a ring, kind of maybe our first hipster? Shell [...]


    6. This is one of the best books I've ever read. It was assigned for a Stanford class in Biography. Following the footsteps of biographical subjects of the past, he relates their lives to contemporary France (contemporary to the time of his writing, which spanned his ages 18 - 30). From Library JournalFollow the footsteps of this absorbing and delightful author as he attempts to trace the paths of four sometimes intractable, but always fascinating, Romantic writers. Robert Louis Stevenson's travels [...]


    7. I really enjoyed this book. It was made up of four biographical feature stories related to the authors research. One about Robert Louis Stevenson, one about Mary Wollstonecraft and one about Percy Shelly. I enjoyed the first three stories very much. The fourth story was about Gerard de Nerval, a person I'm not familiar with, nor with the literary life of France in the 1800s, so I skimmed through the fourth story because I couldn't connect with it. that said, I love the way Richard Holmes writes [...]


    8. This is one of my favorite books of all time. That's how important it is to me. Richard Holmes has written some of my very favorites, primarily because he tackles subjects of great personal interest and I am simply enthralled by his writing style and find his books hard to put down.Part autobiography, part travelogue, part literary biography, Holmes recalls four occasions in which he literally walked in the footsteps of his biographical interests in his journey towards becoming a biographer. It [...]


    9. Footsteps is an intriguing work tracing the captivating bohemian lives of Robert Louis Stevenson, Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Gerard de Nerval. Both author and reader are drawn dangerously/excitingly into solipsistic identification with these famous historical figures. But these moments of identification are recovered by factual accounts/details and also by the ongoing and intriguing commentary on the role and history of biographical writing itself. Implicit in the text is an argumen [...]


    10. I read the first quarter of this four-part book during my MA degree. I attempted to continue with the second instalment but soon gave up.The author’s style fails to engage me. That said, the opening 20-30 pages are enjoyable, especially the story about a trio of man-eating wolves.My interest dissolved when the author’s account of his travels in France shift from interesting comparisons to Robert Louis Stevenson undertaking the same journey to stuffy essay-like biography.My biggest criticism [...]


    11. Am afraid I didn't enjoy this one. The author lost himself and me in the pursuit of the art of biography.This may be a book for academics or professional biographers but the common man (me) was lost.


    12. Fascinating short biographical sketches by a master of the art. His stories of Bohemian Paris inspired me to create the TV series "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne"



    13. This is a crushingly brilliant book. Readers sometimes say it is hard to classify, but really it isn't. This is the autobiography of a biographer, and Holmes can tell the story of his life in only one way: by telling us the story of the biographies he's been compelled to write. Each chapter picks up the story at a new moment in his life. He begins a whippersnapper of eighteen, chasing Robert Louis Stevenson through les Cevennes, feeling the biographical itch beneath his skin. We meet him again i [...]


    14. Footsteps is a brilliantly-written amalgam of biography, travelogue and autobiography. His previous book, a seminal and peerless biography of Percy Shelley, more than qualified as Holmes' magnum opus. Yet Holmes was only 29 when Shelley: The Pursuit was published. Another decade passed before his next major work, Footsteps, was published. In Footsteps Holmes gives us a series of mesmerising episodes in the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley and Gerard de Nerval with pl [...]


    15. Pulling in and out of the role of biographer, Holmes explores what is means to chronicle a person’s life. Celebrating how they lived and their successes but also respecting what it means to assess their personal intrigues. Well written and very interesting to following his thoughts and insights as he traverses the haunts of four renowned writers.


    16. I bought this after reading about it in The Good Reading Guide. I loved it. It was about people I genuinely wanted to know more about (Nerval and his pet lobster had always intrigued me). It also made me want to read the Mary Wollstonecraft and the RL Stevenson. I shall also, of course, be seeking out more works by this author.


    17. Four minibiographies featuring real-life literary detection as Richard Holmes followed the footsteps of Stevenson, Wollstonecraft, Shelley, and Nerval. Packed with dense research but very entertaining nonetheless.


    18. Got to within about 6 pages of the end of the Shelley section and realised I just don’t really care.Just get on with it man and write the biography, all this self indulgent autobiographical stuff (so prevalent these days) gets tedious after a while.



    19. This is a magnificent achievement, both as book and as structure: the man can write, but the man can also bring together different strands, different angles almost effortlessly. Impressive indeed.He handles a great wealth of material with real skill, while always conceptualising and asking questions beyond the immediate scope of the text.I liked it more than (the yet excellent) Age of Wonder, and slightly less than Dr.Savage and Mr. Johnson: perhaps because I'm more interested in Johnson than in [...]


    20. Noted historian and biographer (Shelley, Coleridge) writes a biographical reminiscence about his early years. As a young man, he followed the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson and shares his adventures in South France, talking to the people, sleeping under the stars (and the rain), and learning about Stevenson. He learned as well about what it is like to be a biographer--how all-consuming it can be. He follows up with writing about ShelleyMost of interest to me was his section on Nerval, a Fre [...]


    21. This was a very entertaining travelogue/biography. Holmes does discuss the intrinsic relationship between biographer and subject and manages to bring the biography of his subjects in to his separate sections of text. He does a nice job of bookending the Romantic movement in Europe. However, my one argument is his treatment of Wollstonecraft during her pregnancy with Fanny Imlay. He seems to think that Wollstonecraft abandons the concepts of French liberty that brought her to the Revolution. I fe [...]


    22. So the first three quarters of this book I would give at least four stars to, I absolutely loved the Robert Louis Stevenson journey, and was intrigued by Mary Wolstonecraft and the French Revolution - beautifully and amusingly written, warmer than any formal literary biography can be, It made me want to write as well. But I got a little bogged down in Shelley - I don't know his poetry well enough, which didn't help. And then I can't even remember the name of the fourth character, he was French a [...]


    23. For those of us who enjoy a well written [auto]biography, this one stands out. Richard Holmes writes in the 80's with a mature and informed style about his travels in France and Italy 20 years earlier following the Romantics - Stephenson with his donkey, Mary Wollstonecroft inside the French Revolution, Mary and Percy Shelley in their last years in Italy, and the unknown (to me) French Gerard de Nerval. Holmes is in the middle of the narrative as he explores the writer's worlds and comes to some [...]


    24. When our reading group discussed this book, it provoked a lively discussion. We were all reminded of various things we liked (or didn’t like) about the four writers whose footsteps Holmes traced from France where he followed the steps of Robert Louis Stevenson to Italy where Percy and Mary Shelly lived a bohemian life style. We also learned about Mary Wollstonecraft and Gerard Nerval. Holmes offers a unique approach to biography combining insight into his subjects as well as the challenge of h [...]


    25. Fantastic book written by a biographer who wanted to be a poet and achieves same in prose. He follows in the footsteps of Stevenson (robert louis), mary wollstonecraft, shelley (having written THE PURSUIT which started me on my current film project) and gerar de nerval. He uses nature and photographs in addition to manuscripts and handwriting to explore his subjects and has lines as: " leaning back, saw the Milky Way astonishly bright through the pine tops, and felt something indescribabel—lik [...]


    26. I adored this book! Richard Holmes literally follows in the footsteps of writers he is writing biographies of to try to feel, see, experience what may have inspired them. We get to share in the vicarious travels not just of the author but the writers themselves: Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and several others. If you like travel narratives, this is a terrific read!


    27. An absolutely brilliant memoir in which Holmes shows us how he became a biographer - and how he developed the methods that produced "Shelly: The Pursuit" and his life of Coleridge. I will write further on this topic - because of its centrally important insights into his approach and methods that have yielded biographical narratives that no one has surpassed or rendered obsolete - or ever could.


    28. A blend of biography and reflection on writing and understanding biographies. Each part was interesting in and of itself, and the four parts tied together well. If you're already familiar with the people Holmes writes about, though, I would considering holding back - I don't think the biographies are sufficiently extensive to provide much 'new' information.


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