Imagined by Oscar Wilde’s own grandson, this fictionalised conversation presents the essential biography of the poet, playwright and gay martyr.
Renowned for his endlessly quotable pronouncements, Oscar Wilde cut a dashing figure in late Victorian London … until his tragic downfall resulting from an ill-judged libel action. We remember him not only for his famous trial and imprisonment, but also for a “devil’s dictionary” of timeless aphorisms and for the enduring brilliance of plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest.
Wilde’s life resembles his early short story, “The Remarkable Rocket”, which, rising from nowhere in a shower of sparks, explodes and falls to earth, exclaiming as it goes out, “I knew I should create a great sensation.” Merlin Holland expertly traces the arc of his illustrious ancestor’s life, from his birth in Dublin in 1854 as Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, to a brilliant career at Oxford University where his reputation for dandyish wit was first honed, through to his conquest of the drawing rooms and theatres of fashionable London, culminating in disgrace and imprisonment at the hands of the Marquess of Queensberry in the most notorious libel trial in English history. Wilde died in penury and obscurity in 1900, yet his reputation today has never been greater.
This engaging and innovative short book features a concise biographical essay on Wilde’s meteoric career, followed by a Q&A interview based on Wilde’s own words and Merlin Holland’s unrivalled knowledge of his grandfather’s life, work and puckish observations. This sparkling biography does full justice to Oscar Wilde’s writerly genius and irrepressible humanity. It offers readers a renewed appreciation for a man who at times scadalised his era as much as he delights our own.
Imagined by one of the world’s leading experts on Casanova, this fictionalised conversation presents the essential biography of history’s most famous lover.
A quiet chat with Casanova turns into a catalogue of racy encounters set in 18th-century Venice and other cities … and we can even ask questions! You’ll find out just how he got himself both in and out of some extremely sticky situations, from debt and imprisonment, to confrontations with jealous husbands and even heartbreak.
Renowned as a great lover and seducer, Casanova was far more than a bed hopping rake. He founded the world’s first national lottery, discussed theories of taxation with Frederick the Great, debated the merits of the Gregorian calendar with Catherine the Great, talked theology with Pope Clement XIII, lectured on Horace and Homer, and gave a public recital of his own poem on the Passion of the Christ. He was also an accomplished swindler, an extraordinary wit, a brilliant philosopher, a formidable duellist, and a notable spy.
The impressive scale of Casanova’s many gifts – and vices – is brought brilliantly to life in this innovative biography. A concise biographical essay is followed by a scintillating dialogue that is as historically rigorous as it is entertaining. As Dita Von Teese says in her Foreword: “In my most amorous fantasies, I spend languid days and glittering nights with a true ‘Casanova’– a man with a heartfelt passion for life, a thirst for knowledge and adventure, and of course a lust for refined romance.” Be seduced by this brilliant book.
Imagined by one of the world’s foremost JFK scholars, this fictionalised conversation presents the essential biography of America’s most glamorous and mythologised president.
For many, the presidency of John F. Kennedy was a magic interlude in American history. His admirers saw him as a leader of intelligence and imagination, who wielded power with grace, courage and verve – although detractors have questioned the depth of his convictions and drawn attention to his serial philandering.
Kennedy’s rise also marked the beginning of modern “celebrity” politics – a politician with film star charisma who proved ideally suited to the new age of television. Meet the man himself and he’ll tell you how it felt to have his finger on the red button when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.
The book is divided into two parts: a biographical essay that provides a concise overview of JFK’s life, achievements, scandals and controversies; and a Q&A dialogue based on rigorous research and incorporating JFK’s actual spoken or written words whenever possible, along with rigorously researched biographical interpretations of his various views and positions.
Here you will find all the key moments in JFK’s life and career: his early days at Harvard and the US Navy; his family background and the importance of his Catholic faith; running for office against Richard Nixon; his clashes with communist power in Berlin and Cuba; the Civil Rights movement; Vietnam; and the president’s often scandalous personal life that was carefully concealed from an adoring public. Kennedy’s assassination on 22 November 1963 marked the beginning of a tumultuous and bitterly divided decade, and birthed countless conspiracy theories that thrive to this day. These legacies of polarisation and suspicion of established authority have assumed particular salience in the 21st century.