Tag Archives: Ruth Scurr

Cogitations of an indexer

A profound thank you to all who commented or emailed me about the illustrations to my biography. Nearly everyone expressed a preference for having them in the text as close as possible to their mention, so that is what I … Continue reading

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Some notes on orthodoxy

A very happy New Year to all Calderonia’s subscribers, followers, and casual viewers! (If you are one of the latter, please consider subscribing top right.) This is ‘the year’… Following an almost complete absence of response to my last reminders … Continue reading

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A skipped life

For my taste, this book is the most innovative biography since Ruth Scurr’s John Aubrey: My Own Life (see 15 October 2016). Although reviewed positively when it appeared last year, it is so original that I defy anyone to get their head quite round … Continue reading

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‘Iconography’

Lest it be thought that my previous post expressed a scepticism towards or weariness with blogging, I hasten to reassure followers: the pleasures and benefits of running Calderonia have been a fantastic bonus to writing the actual book. I never … Continue reading

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The limits of biography

I do not know why the popularity of autobiographies and biographies has mushroomed in 21st century Britain. I wish someone would tell us. Meeting and communicating with people makes the world go round, of course, so perhaps the fact that … Continue reading

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Percy Lubbock: ‘Esoteric and intimate portraiture’

  One of Ruth Scurr’s aims in John Aubrey: My Own Life was to ‘produce a portrait’ of Aubrey, but naturally she did not write it in the biographical genre known as ‘literary portrait’. This genre seems to have grown out … Continue reading

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Ruth Scurr: ‘A book in which he is still alive’

  If in her first biography Ruth Scurr’s identity approached that of Robespierre as a ‘friend’, in John Aubrey: My Own Life (2015) she seems to have merged her identity with Aubrey altogether. The fundamental problem of modern biography, Scurr has written elsewhere, … Continue reading

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Ruth Scurr: ‘Fatal Purity’ and dangerous identity

  The most innovative biography of 2015 was Ruth Scurr’s John Aubrey: My Own Life, and it is still reverberating (it was published in the U.S. last month and following this Scurr lectured on it in America). Long-term followers of Calderonia … Continue reading

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‘O, fallacem hominum spem!’

This tag from Cicero, meaning ‘Oh how deceptive is men’s hope!’, may be heard on the lips of Chekhov buffs when disappointed about something, followed sotto voce by Kulygin’s line: ‘Accusative with exclamation…’ (Act 2, Three Sisters). It is certainly appropriate … Continue reading

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Watch this Space

Calderonia is an experiment in biography through a blog. It tells the story of George and Kittie Calderon’s lives from 30 July 1914 to 30 July 1915 from day to day as it happened, but exactly 100 years afterwards. It therefore … Continue reading

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‘An obscure mixture of feelings’

I try reading the London Review of Books about twice a year, but each time end by flinging it in the bin: it’s not a literary publication, it’s a political one written by amateur politicians. And what I can’t take about … Continue reading

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Ruth Scurr’s exhilarating experiment

In my post of 6 March I discussed an essay by Ruth Scurr about biography that had just appeared in the Guardian Review. Her essay stirred up a whole hive of issues that the modern biographer should be aware of and needs … Continue reading

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The biographer discombobulated

I am greatly entertained by Mistress Ruth Scurr’s new book John Aubrey: My Own Life. It contains 433 pages. My honoured friend Mr William Harvey warns me that I shall acquire an impostumation if I sit reading it much longer. I … Continue reading

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Biography and the limits of non-fiction

I keep dipping into Ruth Scurr’s John Aubrey: My Own Life. It’s very compulsive reading, but I don’t have time at the moment to let it run away with me as I would wish. Nevertheless, I’ve read enough both of the … Continue reading

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Time and the biographer

I have received a long and very interesting letter from John Dewey, author of the superb Mirror of the Soul: A Life of the Poet Fyodor Tyutchev (2010), commenting on my various posts over the last three months that touch on … Continue reading

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Who was George Calderon (again)?

I first posted on this subject last year, 13 September. The reason I am touching on it again now is that a follower has very kindly sent me a cutting from the International New York Times of 23 January which is … Continue reading

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