First published in 1949, The Progress of a Biographer follows a general principle that there are absolute truths, which an individual can in some degree apprehend and live by, but which churches and institutions can only obscure and pervert. This principle is followed for the sketches in this book, most of which were written between the end of World War II and the spring of 1948. The subjects range from P. G. Wodehouse to Karl Marx, from W. B. Yeats to Thackeray, and from Rainer Maria Rilke to Lloyd George. Believing that to understand a man’s work, one must form a coherent impression of the man, the author has tried to suggest the leading characteristics and governing impulses of his subjects. His intention has been to clarify rather than to criticise, though doubtless the affect may sometimes be one of criticism falling short of clarification. The book will be of interest to students across disciplines but will particularly appeal to students of English literature.
Table of Contents
1. The Progress of a Biographer 2. William Makepeace Thackeray 3. Rudyard Kipling 4. J. M. Barrie 5. Bernard Shaw 6. Shaw and Dickens 7. The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Oscar Wilde 8. Oscar Wilde’s Biographers 9. Rupert Brooke 10. Occluded Pastures 11. Pendragonship 12. Tennyson and W. H. Auden 13. Aldous Huxley’s Mystic 14. The ‘Who’ and the ‘What 15. Meetings with W. B. Yeats 16. The Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke 17. A Woman of the Pharisees 18. George Saintsbury 19. Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan 20. Logan Pearsall Smith 21. High Life in Victorian Fiction 22. The English n Switzerland 23. Humour 24. William Gerhardi 25. Max Beerbohm 26. P. G. Wodehouse 27. Boswell and D. B. Wyndham Lewis 28. Counsels for the Defence 29. Hamlet Borgianized 30. Biography and Criticism 31. The Heroic Vitalists 32. The Comforts of Richard Wagner 33. What are Politics? 34. Napoleon 35. Lloyd George 36. Winston Churchill 37. Karl Marx 38. The Common Man