richard holmes footsteps
In the ebook version of the classic, the author of 'Footsteps' collects the biographical stories that have captured his fancy in the course of researching his books on the romantic poets, creating a captivating mixture of biography and memoir.‘Sidetracks' is a sister book to 'Footsteps', conjured up from decades of 'wanderings from the straight and narrow' of his major biographies like Shelley and Coleridge. The collection is held together by a subtle autobiographical thread: 'to be sidetracked is, after all, to be led astray by a path or an idea, a scent or a tune, and maybe lost forever.'The centerpiece of book concerns Mary Woolstonecraft, the great feminist crusader and philosopher, and her relationship with William Godwin. Their story and travails are inspiring and poignant, all told in riveting and beautiful prose style.'Sidetracks' winds through an extraordinary and eclectic assortment of Romantic and Gothic writers and personalities: some French, some English, some Dutch, some American, some major, some minor, but all made hypnotically alive and memorable through Holmes's transforming touch. We meet Chatterton and Gautier, Pierrot and Voltaire, Mary Wollstonecraft and Godwin, Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, James Boswell and Zelide, MR James and some very unpleasant gothic apparitions.With each of these twenty pieces Holmes shows how fluid, playful and unconstrained the many voices of biography can be. The book includes two documentary radio-plays, many different kinds of character sketch and travelogue, true love stories and true ghost stories, and one piece, 'Dr Johnson's First Cat' which may or may not be a piece of true biographical fiction.'Sidetracks' is a renewed examination of the strange and sometimes shadowy pathways of biography that have always fascinated Holmes.