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Ben DowningSidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer gathers 20 pieces-mainly essays, but two BBC radio dramas as well written over the past 30 years. Followers of Mr. Holmes will be pleased to see him revisit, from new perspectives, such pet figures as Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft and Gerard de Nerval. What sets Mr. Holmes apart is his blend of rigorous scholarship, keen sympathy and infectious zeal for the form itself; he is at once a practitioner, historian and impassioned advocate of biography.
— Wall Street Journal