The fertile fact

An absorbing history in the round
by
August 2021, no. 434
Buy this book

The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A true story of sex, crime and the meaning of justice by Julia Laite

Profile Books, $34.99 hb, 424 pp

The fertile fact

An absorbing history in the round
by
August 2021, no. 434

Musing upon the art of biography, Virginia Woolf bemoaned the constraints that facts imposed on imagination. It is the most ‘restricted’ of all arts, she wrote, limited by ‘friends, letters and documents’. Yet these very restrictions can inspire creativity. Good biographers don’t just accumulate facts; they give us, in Woolf’s words, ‘the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and engenders’. Biography, done well, Woolf concluded, does ‘more to stimulate the imagination than any poet or novelist save the greatest’. By this definition, Julia Laite is indeed a superb biographer.

Alecia Simmonds reviews 'The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A true story of sex, crime and the meaning of justice' by Julia Laite

The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A true story of sex, crime and the meaning of justice

by Julia Laite

Profile Books, $34.99 hb, 424 pp

Buy this book

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