Works on Paper is a selection by one of today's leading biographers from his lectures, essays, and reviews written over the last quarter of a century mainly on the craft of biography and autobiography but also covering what Michael Holroyd describes as his "enthusiasms and alibis."
Opening with a startling attack on biography, which is answered by two essays on the ethics and values of non-fiction writing, the book goes on to examine the work of several contemporary biographers, the place of biography in fiction and of fiction in biography, and the revelations of some extravagant autobiographers, from Osbert Sitwell to Quentin Crispto which he adds some adventures of his own, in particular an important and unpublished piece "The Making of GBS," a riveting story of internecine literary warfare.
The book ends with a series of satires, celebrations, apologias, and polemics which throw light not only on Michael Holroyd's progress as a biographer but also his record as an embattled campaigner in the field of present-day literary politics.
Author Biography: Michael Holroyd was born in 1935 and educated at Eton College. His lives of Hugh Kingsmill, Lytton Strachey, Augustus John, and George Bernard Shaw have established him as one of the most influential biographers of modern times. His family autobiography, Basil Street Blues (1999), garnered the greatest number of non-fiction end-of-year critics' choices that year. A past chairman of the Society of Authors, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Book Trust, past president of English PEN and a former member of the Arts Council, he is married to the novelist Margaret Drabble and lives in London and Somerset.