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Lytton Strachey: A Biography by Michael…
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Lytton Strachey: A Biography (1967)

by Michael Holroyd

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When Michael Holroyd's life of Strachey appeared in 1967, it changed the course of modern biography, setting a new standard for the recounting of literary lives and launching the enduring Bloomsbury revival. In the 1960s, however, many of Strachey's friends and lovers were still alive; much could not be said, and access to letters and resources was restricted. Since then, almost all his circle has died, and homosexuality in England has been decriminalized. In telling Strachey's life anew, Holroyd has drawn on a wealth of previously unavailable material, bring fresh candour and accuracy to his account of Strachey's friendships with E. M. Forster, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, Ralph and Frances Patridge, and his companion Dora Carrington, among others. In many of Bloomsbury's three-cornered relationships, Holroyd could lay claim to only two sides of the triangle. Now he has all three with which to recount the story of this extraordinary man and his complex world. At the centre of the drama is the long-lasting relationship between Strachey and Carrington and their "Triangular Trinity of Happiness" with Ralph Partridge. In equally elegant and humorous prose, Holroyd shows the parts that many men and women played in this comedy of manners as it developed into a tragedy.

This is a big, gossipy life of English historian Strachey that offers a vibrant, intimate portrait of the Bloomsbury circle, their love affairs, jealousies and creative ferment. In Eminent Victorians (1918), Strachey stripped away the pious camouflage of Victorian society, targeting hypocrisy, imperialism, militarism and religion. Holroyd, biographer of G.B. Shaw, credits Strachey with revolutionizing historical biography by emphasizing character and hidden sexuality and subverting traditional forms through caricature and psychological innuendo. Drawing on thousands of letters by Strachey and his Bloomsbury coterie, Holroyd unearths details of Strachey's adolescent self-loathing and sexual guilt; his proposing marriage to Virginia Woolf in an effort to renounce his homosexuality; his pacifism during WWI; and his relationship with his adoring live-in companion, painter Dora Carrington, who tolerated his gay affairs. This panoramic account of Strachey's trajectory from hypersensitive, shy Cambridge undergraduate to social and literary lion is peopled with the likes of D.H. Lawrence, Rupert Brooke, John Maynard Keynes, T.S. Eliot, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Augustus John and Bertrand Russell.
1 vote antimuzak | Nov 7, 2007 |
First published in 1967, this updated edition draws on previously unavailable material, bringing fresh candor & accuracy to the life of Britain's irreverent individualist, author of the controversial Eminent Victorians.

"One of the great biographies of our time."--C.P. Snow

When Michael Holroyd's life of Strachey appeared in 1967, it changed the course of modern biography, setting a new standard for the recounting of literary lives and launching the enduring Bloomsbury revival. In the 1960s, however, many of Strachey's friends and lovers were still alive; much could not be said, and access to letters and resources was restricted. Since then, almost all his circle has died, and homosexuality in England has been decriminalized. In telling Strachey's life anew, Holroyd has drawn on a wealth of previously unavailable material, bring fresh candor and accuracy to his account of Strachey's friendships with E. M. Forster, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, Ralph and Frances Patridge, and his companion Dora Carrington, among others. In many of Bloomsbury's three-cornered relationships, Holroyd could lay claim to only two sides of the triangle. Now he has all three with which to recount the story of this extraordinary man and his complex world. At the center of the drama is the long-lasting relationship between Strachey and Carrington and their "Triangular Trinity of Happiness" with Ralph Partridge. In equally elegant and humorous prose, Holroyd shows the parts that many men and women played in this comedy of manners as it developed into a tragedy.

Holroyd's big, gossipy life of English historian Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), first published in 1968 and now in a revised, expanded edition, offers a vibrant, intimate portrait of the Bloomsbury circle, their love affairs, jealousies and creative ferment. In Eminent Victorians (1918), Strachey stripped away the pious camouflage of Victorian society, targeting hypocrisy, imperialism, militarism and religion. Holroyd, biographer of G.B. Shaw, credits Strachey with revolutionizing historical biography by emphasizing character and hidden sexuality and subverting traditional forms through caricature and psychological innuendo. Drawing on thousands of letters by Strachey and his Bloomsbury coterie, Holroyd unearths details of Strachey's adolescent self-loathing and sexual guilt; his proposing marriage to Virginia Woolf in an effort to renounce his homosexuality; his pacifism during WWI; and his relationship with his adoring live-in companion, painter Dora Carrington, who tolerated his gay affairs. This panoramic account of Strachey's trajectory from hypersensitive, shy Cambridge undergraduate to social and literary lion is peopled with the likes of D.H. Lawrence, Rupert Brooke, John Maynard Keynes, T.S. Eliot, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Augustus John and Bertrand Russell.
  antimuzak | Apr 15, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0030551919, Paperback)

Drawing on new material, both published and unpublished, this is a revised edition of a biography of Lytton Strachey which was first published in 1967. It is the story of a complex man and his world which it was felt could not be told while many of his friends and lovers were still alive. It is also a panorama of the social, literary, political and sexual life of a generation, and at its heart is the poignant liaison between Strachey and the painter Dora Carrington.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:35 -0400)

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"A triumphant success. . . . His prose is confident, clear . . . occasionally perfect." -Dennis Potter, "The Times" (London)

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