Category Archives: biography

Mary S. Lovell, “A Scandalous Life: The Biography of Jane Digby”

So why should you read the biography of someone you’ve never heard of? Because you’re interested in the period, I suppose, or in the place where that person lived. Because you admire the work of the biographer, certainly. Or a … Continue reading

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Mary Blume, “The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World”

I’m going to start with a quotation here, and if you don’t like it you can just move on, because while I adored The Master of Us All, not every reader wants to devote a few hours to a long-dead … Continue reading

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Mark Seal, “Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Death in Africa”

Yes, another Africa book, but a more contemporary one. When I was in the Kenyan town of Naivasha about a month ago, we drove past a long stretch of sturdy iron fencing that had the initials “JR” worked into the … Continue reading

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Frances Osborne, “The Bolter”

I didn’t want to like Idina Sackville, the “bolter” of the title. How could I? On page 18 of the book is a heartbreaking photo of two little boys, Idina’s sons Gerard and David, whom she left in their father’s … Continue reading

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Even More on “Downton Abbey,” This Time Adding Edith Wharton

This week I spent some time chatting with Pat Ryan of the New York Times who was assigned to write a nifty story for the New York Times about some sites in New York that were reminiscent of Edith Wharton. … Continue reading

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Caroline Moorehead, “Dancing to the Precipice”

Lucie Dillon de la Tour du Pin has been vaguely on my radar for a long time; her memoirs show up in  bibliographies when you’re reading about pre-Revolutionary Versailles, or for that matter, about the revolution itself — or even Napoleonic … Continue reading

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Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith, “Van Gogh: The Life”

Phew! Sorry — but really, who doesn’t feel relief upon finishing a volume that runs 870 pages? I read a paper-bound galley of Van Gogh: The Life and had a hard time just managing its physical bulk. This is not a … Continue reading

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