Richard Holmes's great work of biographical exploration, rejacketed and republished alongside its sister volume Sidetracks. In 1985, Richard Holmes published a small book of essays called Footsteps and the writing of biography was changed forever. A daring mix of travel, biographical sleuthing and personal memoir, it broke all the conventions of the genre and remains ons of the most intoxicating, magical works of modern literary exploration ever published. Sleeping rough, he retraces Robert Louis Stevenson's famous journey through the Cevennes. Caught up in the Parisian riots of the 1960s, he dives back in time to the terrors of Wordsworth and of Mary Wollstonecraft marooned in Revolutionary Paris and then into the strange tortured worlds of Gerard de Nerval. Wandering through Italy, he stalks Shelley and his band of Romantic idealists to Casa Magni on the Gulf of Spezia.
Richard Holmes is our greatest living biographer. His biography of Shelley won the Somerset Maugham Prize. Footsteps (1985) revolutionized the way biography was thought about and written. The first part of his biography of Coleridge won the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Prize. His portrait of the friendship between Dr Johnson and Mr Savage won the James Tait Black Prize. The concluding volume of his Coleridge biography won the Duff Cooper Prize and the William Heinemann award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy, and lives in London and Norwich with the novelist Rose Tremain.