Michael Holroyd: A Book of Secrets

Grand follies

Ian Britain

 

A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers
by Michael Holroyd
Chatto & Windus, $46.95 hb, 270 pp, 9780701185343

 

In a review on quite another subject for ABR’s recent summer issue (‘Barry by Edna’, December 2010–January 2011), I had occasion to invoke the career of Michael Holroyd, ‘reigning, if ailing, king of English biographers’, as I dubbed him. On the basis of his well-publicised illness, I sadly but confidently declared that Holroyd’s joint biographical study of the Irving and Terry theatrical dynasties, A Strange Eventful History (2008), was ‘likely to be his last’. How delightful now to be proved wrong with the appearance of A Book of Secrets.

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Ian Britain

Ian Britain

Ian Britain is an honorary senior research fellow in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is writing a biography of Donald Friend, as a complement to his edition of The Donald Friend Diaries: Chronicles and Confessions of an Australian Artist (2010).

Published in June 2011 no. 332