Ruth Scurr is the author of Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution and John Aubrey: My Own Life.
 (September 2017)


Their Faithful Servant

Richard Holmes

This Long Pursuit: Reflections of a Romantic Biographer

by Richard Holmes
By a broken bridge across the River Allier in the French city of Langogne, the eighteen-year-old biographer-in-training Richard Holmes almost sat down and wept. It was 1964, and he was following faithfully in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, who had traveled with a donkey through the Cévennes in 1878.

The Dreams and the Demons of Fasting

Edvard Munch: The Girl by the Window, 1893

The Wonder

by Emma Donoghue
“I have tried to use memory and invention together, like two hands engaged in the same muddy work of digging up the past,” explains the Irish-Canadian writer Emma Donoghue in the foreword to a collection of her short stories, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002). She quotes approvingly …

Homo Erectus


by Jim Crace
Human life is framed by two great mysteries. In Being Dead (1999), the British novelist Jim Crace gives a wholly secular answer to the question “What happens when we die?” Tightly organized, the novel centers on the elaborate conceit of a middle-aged married couple, brutally murdered on a beach, and …