Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography

Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography

by Hamilton

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hamilton here selects the lives of 12 literary giants through which to explore the question of what happens to an author's work and reputation after death. Although many writers leave instructions regarding posthumous publication and designate official biographers, conflicting interests between heirs and the public often overturn the expressed wishes of the deceased, shows Hamilton. His subjects span a historical gamut from the 16th century to the 20th and include John Donne, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Henry James and Sylvia Plath--and the keepers of their flames. Although Hamilton ( In Search of J. D. Salinger ) provides interesting information on emerging copyright laws and changing styles of biographical writing, his study is overwhelmed by an excess of gossipy detail about his subjects' sex lives and negative character traits and marred by poor organization of his material. (Apr.)
Originally published in Great Britain in 1992 by Hutchinson, an imprint of Random House UK Ltd., London. Biographer, critic, and poet, Hamilton probes literary estate management and mismanagement through the centuries, from Donne and Shakespeare to Plath and Larkin. He entertainingly recounts battles between the protective and the curious--those who've sought to whitewash or keep reputations sacred, and those who've eschewed any bounds of privacy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Faber and Faber
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.32(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >