'Robb has written a great biography - scholarly, humane and above all marvelously entertaining' Guardian Graham Robb's brilliant biography moves Rimbaud on from his perpetual adolescence where our imaginations have held him to show the extent of his transformations. From phenomenally precocious schoolboy he became Europe's most shocking and exhilarating poet, author of poems that range from the exquisite to the obscene. But this brief, five-year period as the enfant-terible of French literature is only one small side of Rimbaud's story. Robb takes us on a biographical journey through three continents and many different identities. Rimbaud emerges from this stunning work of biographical scholarship and historical imagination as an even more complex, ambiguous and fascinating figure than ever before.
'One of the best biographies I have read, ever' Selina Hastings 'Mr Robb has written an enthralling book - one of the great biographies of our time. He contrives not to be dwarfed by his subject, which is some contrivance. He makes of Hugo's life a story as exciting to read as it was extraordinary to have lived. He has a matchless gift for narrative. His style is epigrammatic and compelling. His judgements seem fair - not something Hugo was used to in life. Every Place Victor Hugo should now have a Café-Bar Graham Robb. He deserves, and will probably get, the Légion d'honneur' Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph 'Robb achieves the goal of all good literary biographies by making us long to regain, or savour for the first time, Hugo's company as a writer. Surely no chronicler of his life or analyst of his work has ever looked this prodigy of nature so unflinchingly in the eye' Jonathan Keates, Literary Review 'Graham Robb's exuberant biography of the French writer blows the cobwebs away from a neglected hero and sets him before us in lurid and quite unforgettable shape. Robb's jaunty, self-confident style is gloriously appropriate to his subject . . . Robb's enthusiasm is hugely exhilarating and his biography is a fascinating study in the making of a celebrity' Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times, Books of the Year 'The best life of the writer available in English (and likely to remain so for some time) . . . His fascinating, totally readable Life will introduce Hugo to many readers who know him only as a name' Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday
Award-winning author Graham Robb explores the story - and history -of male and female homosexuality in the UK and US, uncovering elements from legislature, literature, medicine and day-to-day life that point to a particularly self-aware and sophisticated culture of Victorian homosexuality. Drawing on famous cases such as the Wilde trials, as well as a wide variety of previously neglected sources, Robb recreates this era with great insight, humour and aplomb, exploding modern myths and restoring the real and vibrant truth of homosexual love to today's readers: Strangers tells a tale that is in part familiar, and in part extremely surprising - a story of oppression and secrecy, but also of unexpected tolerance and familiarity.
The Debatable Land was an independent territory which used to exist between Scotland and England. At the height of its notoriety, it was the bloodiest region in Great Britain, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James V. After the Union of the Crowns, most of its population was slaughtered or deported and it became the last part of the country to be brought under the control of the state. Today, its history has been forgotten or ignored.When Graham Robb moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, he discovered that the river which almost surrounded his new home had once marked the Debatable Land's southern boundary. Under the powerful spell of curiosity, Robb began a journey - on foot, by bicycle and into the past - that would uncover lost towns and roads, reveal the truth about this maligned patch of land and result in more than one discovery of major historical significance.Rich in detail and epic in scope, The Debatable Land takes us from a time when neither England nor Scotland could be imagined to the present day, when contemporary nationalism and political turmoil threaten to unsettle the cross-border community once more. Writing with his customary charm, wit and literary grace, Graham Robb proves the Debatable Land to be a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history.Includes a 16-page colour plate section.
Graham Robb has produced a masterpiece of literary biography in which Balzac bursts into life on every page. The living manifestation of the colourful and varied world he described, yet at the same time its most astonishing exception, Balzac is the perfect subject for biography. Robb skilfully interweaves the life with the work to paint an indelible and brilliantly compelling portrait of one of the great tragicomic heroes of the nineteenth century, a man whose influence both in and outside his native France has been and is still immense. 'Graham Robb does a superb job in bringing Balzac to life in all his preposterousness, while still letting us appreciate his genius' Sunday Independent 'Robb's Balzac is a fine achievement: an impressive work of scholarship and an enormously enjoyable read. In a well-paced narrative, he blends solid evidence with amusing anecdote, patient evaluation with witty aside' Guardian