Literary Birthday – 5 November – Richard Holmes

Happy Birthday, Richard Holmes, born 5 November 1945


  1. If you are only a scholar your story will be dead, but if you are only a storyteller then it will be ludicrous.
  2. That’s partly the biographer’s job, I think, to give someone a fair hearing, to do them justice.
  3. A biography is like a handshake down the years, that can become an arm-wrestle.
  4. Of course I think biography aspires to be an art, just as the novel does. It is a piece of imaginative storytelling, as well as an historical investigation. It celebrates the wonderful diversity of human nature, and its aim is enlightenment. But biography is also a vocation, a calling. The dead call to us out of the past, like owls calling out of the dark. They ask to be heard, remembered, understood. (via)

Richard Holmes is a British author and academic. Best known for his biographical studies of major figures of British and French Romanticism, his works include: Shelley: The Pursuit, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award; Coleridge: Early Visions, winner of the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Prize; and Dr Johnson and Mr Savage, which won the James Tait Black Prize.

Source for image

 by Amanda Patterson

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