Sam Leith Sam Leith

Books podcast: The biographer’s tale

In this week’s Spectator books podcast, it’s the Biographer’s Tale. I‘m joined by the doyen of romantic biographers Richard Holmes, and our regular reviewer Frances Wilson — author of the hugely acclaimed new Life of Thomas de Quincey, Guilty Thing. Jumping off from Richard’s new book This Long Pursuit: Reflections of a Romantic Biographer, we talk about where life-writing fits into the literary world.

How do you go about it: with Richard’s “footsteps” approach, as much biographer as travel-writer; or with Frances’s deep dive in the library? Do you need to love your subjects, and what if you grow to hate them? And why is it that, however accomplished they may be, biographers never get filed under their own initials in bookshops?

You can listen to our conversation here:

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