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These cultural and literary biographies are perfect for anyone looking to learn about the individuals behind some of the world’s most important cultural movements. You’ll be able to find fantastic religious and literary biographies, including a range of Christian biographies. If you can’t find what you’re after here, then be sure to have a look at our full range of hand-picked bbiographies!

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Cultural & Literary Biographies

  • Conversations with Dickens

    Paul Schlicke

    Product Code: CBRTN
    Hardback
    Sheltering from a summer downpour, youencounter the ghost of Charles Dickens. Join him for a chat in the inn belovedby Mr Pickwick and be swept away by his vigour, warmth and humanity. You'llfeel as if you've known him all your life.The great novelist Charles Dickensattracted international adulation on an unprecedented scale. He cultivated agenial intimacy with his readers, and after he died many of his admirers feltthat they had lost a personal friend. Sit back and listen to this masterconversationalist talk about everything from work in a boot-polish factory tolecture tours in America.Who could possibly ask for more?
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • Essays

    Lydia Davis

    Product Code: CBRCT
    Hardback
    From the International Man Booker Prize-winning author of Can't and Won't and The End of the Story - a crystalline collection of literary essays for fans of Susan Sontag and Joan Didion 'She's a joy. There's no writer quite like her' Ali Smith 'Among my most favourite writers. Read her now!' A. M. Homes The visionary, fearless Lydia Davis presents a dazzling collection of essays on reading and writing, exploring the full scope of possibility within existing forms of literature and considering how we might challenge and reinvent these forms. Through Thomas Pynchon, Michel Leiris, Maurice Blanchot, Lucia Berlin, Joan Mitchell and others, he author considers her many creative influences. And, through these lenses, she returns to her own writing process, her relationship to language and the written word. Beautifully formed, thought-provoking, playful and illuminating, these pieces are a masterclass in reading and writing.
    • £16.00
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  • Reporter

    Seymour M. Hersh

    Product Code: CBRCM
    Paperback
    'Reporter is just wonderful. Truly a great life, and what shines out of the book, amid the low cunning and tireless legwork, is Hersh's warmth and humanity. Essential reading for every journalist and aspiring journalist the world over' John le Carre In the early 1950s, teenage Seymour Hersh was finishing high school and university - while running the family's struggling dry cleaning store in a Southside Chicago ghetto. Today, he is one of America's premier investigative journalists, whose fearless reporting has earned him fame, front-page bylines in virtually every newspaper in the world, a staggering collection of awards, and no small amount of controversy. Reporter is the story of how he did it. It is a story of slog, ingenuity and defiance, following Hersh from his first job as a crime reporter for the Chicago City News Bureau, through his Pulitzer Prize-winning freelance investigative exposes, to the heights of his reporting for The New York Times and the New Yorker. It is a tale of night-time encounters with great Civil Rights leaders, unauthorised meetings with Pentagon officials, raucous dinners with Canadian soldiers in Hanoi, tense phone calls with Secretaries of State, desperate to save face; of exposing myriad military and political wrongdoing, from My Lai to Watergate to Abu Ghraib, and the cynical cover-ups that followed in Washington and New York. Here too are unforgettable encounters with some of the most formidable figures from recent decades, from Saul Bellow to Martin Luther King Jr., from Henry Kissinger to Bashar al-Assad. Ultimately, in unfurling Seymour Hersh's life and career, Reporter tells a story of twentieth-century America, in all its excitement and darkness.
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  • The Life of Saul Bellow

    Zachary Leader

    Product Code: CBQNJ
    Paperback
    THE FINAL VOLUME TO THE ACCLAIMED BIOGRAPHY OF SAUL BELLOW 'Brilliant' Spectator 'Compelling' Times Literary Supplement 'Riveting' New Statesman 'Superb' New York Times At forty-nine, Saul Bellow was at the pinnacle of American letters - he was rich, famous and critically acclaimed, with the best yet to come: Mr Sammler's Planet, Humboldt's Gift, all his best stories. He went on to win two more National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize. However, away from his desk, Bellow's life was set to become embroiled in controversy: over foreign affairs, race, religion, education, social policy, the state of culture, the fate of the novel. From the women he pursued and his turbulent family relations, to his struggles with cultural relativism and the perceived excesses of civil rights movements, this second and final volume of Zachary Leader's monumental Life of Saul Bellow charts Bellow's heroic energy and will throughout his life, right to the end - where his immense achievements and their costs, to himself and others, became ever more apparent.
    • £16.00
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  • Agatha Christie

    Cathy Cook

    Product Code: CBPEM
    Paperback
    This miscellany explores the fascinating and enigmatic world created by the undisputed `Queen of Crime', Agatha Christie. Examining her place in literary history, her books and her iconic characters, including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, this unique collection includes facts, trivia and quotes that feature in Christie's legendary stories and the subsequent film and television adaptations. The Agatha Christie Miscellany will also delve into the secrets, mysteries and tricks that made Christie the most sensational and successful mystery writer of her time. For example, how is it that she managed to keep us guessing the murderer until the very end? Looking at her life and the influences on her writing, this entertaining and informative miscellany will, above all, unravel the secrets of Agatha Christie's phenomenal success.
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  • Kafka's Prague

    Klaus Wagenbach

    Product Code: BZQPU
    Paperback
    Nearly 100 years after Franz Kafka's death, his works continue to intrigue and haunt us. Even for those who are only fleetingly acquainted with his unfinished novels, or his stories, diaries, and letters, `Kafkaesque' has become a byword for the menacing, unfathomable absurdity of modern existence and bureaucracy. Yet for all the universal significance of his fiction, Kafka's writing remains inextricably bound up with his life and work in Prague, where he spent every one of his 40 years. Klaus Wagenbach's account of Kafka's life in the city is a meticulously researched insight into the author's family background, his education and employment, his attitude toward the town of his birth, his literary influences, and his relationships with women. The result is a fascinating portrait of the 20th century's most enigmatic writer and the city that provided him with so much inspiration; W.G. Sebald recognised that `literary and life experience overlap' in Kafka's works, and the same is true of this book.
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  • The Long Recessional

    David Gilmour

    Product Code: BYVUC
    Paperback
    'Superb, beautifully written, touching and occasionally very funny' Andrew Roberts David Gilmour's superb biography of Rudyard Kipling is the first to show how the life and work of the great writer mirrored the trajectory of the British Empire, from its zenith to its final decades. His famous poem 'Recessional' celebrated Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, but his last poems warned of the dangers of Nazism, and in those intervening years Kipling, himself an icon of the Empire, was transformed from an apostle of success to a prophet of national decline. As Gilmour makes clear, Kipling's mysterious stories and poetry deeply influenced the way his readers saw both themselves and the British Empire, and they continue to challenge us today. 'A fine, fair and generous work ... Gilmour's celebrated life of Curzon demonstrated his mastery of imperial nuance and esoteric character, and he brings to this book just the right combination of empathy, distaste and fastidious detachment ... there is never a flaccid line, and never a hasty judgement' Jan Morris, New Statesman 'Every now and again a book comes along that sheds new light on a life we thought we knew. David Gilmour's beautifully-written biography of Rudyard Kipling is just such a work ... This is literary biography at its very finest' George Rosie, Sunday Herald 'An enthralling biography of a mind ... essential reading for anyone who cares about how a writer finds, and passionately lives, his subject' Ruth Padel, Daily Telegraph 'The best Kipling biography yet written ... Gilmour's account of this driven man shines with intelligence' J. B. Pick, Scotsman
    • £11.99
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  • Oscar

    Matthew Sturgis

    Product Code: BRZHZ
    Hardback
    The first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years. Oscar Wilde's life - like his wit - was alive with paradox. He was both an early exponent and a victim of 'celebrity culture': famous for being famous, he was lauded and ridiculed in equal measure. His achievements were frequently downplayed, his successes resented. He had a genius for comedy but strove to write tragedies. He was an unabashed snob who nevertheless delighted in exposing the faults of society. He affected a dandified disdain but was prone to great acts of kindness. Although happily married, he became a passionate lover of men and, at the very peak of his success, he brought disaster upon himself. He disparaged authority, yet went to the law to defend his love for Lord Alfred Douglas. Having delighted in fashionable throngs, Wilde died almost alone: barely a dozen people were at his graveside. Yet despite this ruinous end, Wilde's star continues to shine brightly. His was a life of extraordinary drama and, above all, it is his refusal to conform to the social and sexual orthodoxies of his day that make him a hero and an inspiration to all who seek to challenge convention. In the first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years, Matthew Sturgis draws on new material to place the man firmly in the context of his times. He brings alive the distinctive mood and characters of the fin de siecle in the richest and fullest account of Wilde's life to date.
    • £19.89
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  • Behind the Mask

    Matthew Dennison

    Product Code: ANMRB
    Paperback
    Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West was a woman who defied categorisation. She was the dispossessed girl whose lonely childhood at Knole inspired enduring feats of imagination, the celebrated author and poet, the adored and affectionate wife whose marriage included passionate homosexual affairs (most famously with Virginia Woolf ), and the recluse who found in nature and her garden at Sissinghurst Castle solace from the contradictions of her extraordinary life. In this dazzling new biography, Matthew Dennison traces these complexities, depicting a prolific, radical, sensitive and uncompromising figure in all her depth.
    • £8.99
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In our range of cultural and literary biographies, you will discover the stories of some of the world’s most important people, from amazing monarchs to unforgettable authors to game-changing sportspeople.

The amazing lives of the world’s best writers

From Willian Shakespeare to Jane Austen to T.S. Eliot, we have the perfect literary biography to interest you. Over the history of literature, there have been many incredible works of fiction, poetry and drama, and with that, many fascinating stories of the writers behind them. Discover for yourself the stories of some of the world’s most interesting literary figures.

Historical figures

If you have a strong interest in history and want to know more about some the most influential historical figures, then pick up a cultural biography to discover their stories. Explore the true lives of the people who shaped the world.

Important events

We also have biographies that deal with important events and tell the stories of the people that were involved. If you want to know more about a historical or cultural event then browse our range of biographies.

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