The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer's Tale, by James Atlas
The biographer - so often in the shadows - comes to the stage in this funny, poignant, endearing tale of how writers’ lives get documented.
Atlas revisits the lives and works of the classical biographers, the Renaissance writers of what were then called “lives,” Samuel Johnson and the obsessive Boswell, and the Victorian masters Mrs. Gaskell and Thomas Carlyle.
And in what amounts to a pocket history of his own literary generation, Atlas celebrates the biographers who hoped to glimpse an image of them—“as fleeting as a familiar face swallowed up in a crowd.”
“Witty, conscientious, and perceptive . . . Part literary history and part memoir, this is a lively and elegant biography of biography itself.” - Publishers Weekly
“Entertaining . . . A goody bag of quotable incidents and a useful guide to the biographer’s tradecraft.” - The London Review of Books