More stuff for gossip lovers
Some years ago I bought Claire Tomalin’s biography of Samuel Pepys (The Unequalled Self) and have enjoyed re-reading it several times since. Ms Tomalin offers all the pleasures of academic study; every source is noted; every reference given its provenance. But she is also a lively story-teller – no dusty tome, this! And Sam was a perfect subject: not a saint but a reluctant sinner, living during England’s most troubled times – the 17thC, the Commonwealth, the Restoration; with politics, war, plague and fire; all played out in the heart of London. The book presents the context for Sam’s often gossipy, irreverent views both as a family man and a successful civil servant coping with the turbulence of his times.
And now I have bought another of Claire Tomalin’s biographies, this time Charles Dickens (A Life), which promises to be equally engrossing. Another subject whose life was spent in critical observation of his species, again centred on the capital during an interesting age.