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Works on Paper

The Craft of Biography and Autobiography

List Price: $17.95

December 31, 2013 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 336 Pages | ISBN 9781619022768
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"[T]he heart and soul of the book lies in the literary reviews; taken as a whole, they provide a sweeping overview of 20th-century British authors, trends and movements, including top-notch essays on Evelyn Waugh, Edith Sitwell, E.M. Forster, Augustus John and several writers of the Bloomsbury group." —Publishers Weekly

Works on Paper is a selection by one of today’s leading biographers from his lectures, essays, and reviews written over the last quarter of a century—mainly on the craft of biography and autobiography, but also covering what Michael Holroyd describes as his “enthusiasms and alibis.”

Opening with a startling attack on biography, which is answered by two essays on the ethics and values of non-fiction writing, the book goes on to examine the work of several contemporary biographers, the place of biography in fiction and of fiction in biography, and the revelations of some extravagant autobiographers, from Osbert Sitwell to Quentin Crisp—to which he adds some adventures of his own, in particular an important and unpublished piece The Making of GBS, a riveting story of internecine literary warfare.

The book ends with a series of satires, celebrations, apologias and polemics which throw light not only on Michael Holroyd’s progress as a biographer, but also his record as an embattled campaigner in the field of present-day literary politics.

MICHAEL HOLROYD has written celebrated biographies of Hugh Kingsmill, Augustus John, and Bernard Shaw, as well as the acclaimed Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. He lives in London with his wife.

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