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Graham Robb was born in Manchester in 1958 and is a former fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. He has published widely on French literature and history, including a biographies of Victor Hugo (which won the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Award and the Whitbread Biography Award in 1997) and Rimbaud (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2000). The Discovery of France won both the Duff Cooper and Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prizes. His most recent book, Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris, was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. He lives in Cumbria.
Graham Robb's new book will change the way you see European civilization. Inspired by a chance discovery, Robb became fascinated with the world of the Celts: their gods, their art, and, most of all, their sophisticated knowledge of science. His investigations gradually revealed something extaordinary: a lost map, of an empire constructed with precision and beauty across vast tracts of Europe. The map had been forgotten for almost two millennia and its implications were astonishing. Minutely researched and rich in revelations, The Ancient Paths brings to life centuries of our distant history and reinterprets pre-Roman Europe. Told with all of Robb's grace and verve, it is a dazzling, unforgettable book.
No-one knows a city like the people who live there - so who better to relate the history of Paris than its inhabitants through the ages? Taking us from 1750 to the new millennium, Graham Robb's Parisians is at once a book to read from cover to cover, to lose yourself in, to dip in and out of at leisure, and a book to return to again and again - rather like the city itself, in fact.
An oft-overlooked region lies at the heart of British national history: the Debatable Land. The oldest detectable territorial division in Great Britain, the Debatable Land once served as a buffer between England and Scotland. It was once the bloodiest region in the country, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James V. After most of its population was slaughtered or deported, it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of the state. Today, its boundaries have vanished from the map and are matters of myth and generational memories. In The Debatable Land, historian Graham Robb recovers the history of this ancient borderland in an exquisite tale that spans Roman, Medieval, and present-day Britain. Rich in detail and epic in scope, The Debatable Land provides a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history.
Two years ago, Graham Robb moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, near the banks of a river that once marked the southern boundary of the legendary Debatable Land. The oldest detectable territorial division in Great Britain, the Debatable Land served as a buffer between Scotland and England. It was once the bloodiest region in the country, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James V. After most of its population was slaughtered or deported, it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of the state. Today, it has vanished from the map and its boundaries are matters of myth and generational memories. Under the spell of a powerful curiosity, Robb began a journey-on foot, by bicycle, and into the past-that would uncover lost towns and roads, and unlock more than one discovery of major historical significance. These personal and scholarly adventures reveal a tale that spans Roman, Medieval, and present-day Britain. Rich in detail and epic in scope, The Debatable Land takes us from a time when neither England nor Scotland existed to the present day, when contemporary nationalism and political turmoil threaten to unsettle the cross-border community once more. With his customary charm, wit, and literary grace, Graham Robb proves the Debatable Land to be a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history.
`A book worth reading' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times The Debatable Land was an independent territory which used to exist between Scotland and England. At the height of its notoriety, it was the bloodiest region in Great Britain, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James V. After the Union of the Crowns, most of its population was slaughtered or deported and it became the last part of the country to be brought under the control of the state. Today, its history has been forgotten or ignored. When Graham Robb moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, he discovered that the river which almost surrounded his new home had once marked the Debatable Land's southern boundary. Under the powerful spell of curiosity, Robb began a journey - on foot, by bicycle and into the past - that would uncover lost towns and roads, reveal the truth about this maligned patch of land and result in more than one discovery of major historical significance. Rich in detail and epic in scope, The Debatable Land takes us from a time when neither England nor Scotland could be imagined to the present day, when contemporary nationalism and political turmoil threaten to unsettle the cross-border community once more. Writing with his customary charm, wit and literary grace, Graham Robb proves the Debatable Land to be a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history. Includes a 16-page colour plate section.
A col is the lowest point on the saddle between two mountains. Graham Robb has spent years uncovering and cataloguing the 2,002 cols and 105 passes scattered across the British Isles. Some of these obscure and magical sites are virgin cols that have never been crossed. Dozens were lost by the Ordnance Survey and are recorded only in ballads or monastic charters. The eleven cols of Hadrian's Wall are practically unknown and have never been properly identified. These underappreciated slices of natural beauty provide a new way of looking at British history, and a challenge for cyclists and walkers.
With an introduction by Colm Toibin. Ten years ago, I began to explore the country on which I was supposed to be an authority . . . France is a country famous for its intellectuals, its philosophers and writers, its fashion, food and wine. And yet the notion of 'the French' as one nation is relatively recent and - historically speaking - quite misleading. In order to discover the 'real' past of France, Graham Robb realized it was not only necessary to go back in time, but also to go at a slower pace than modern life generally allows. The Discovery of France, illuminating, engrossing and full of surprises, is the result of Robb's 14,000 mile journey across France on a bicycle. Winner of both the Duff Cooper and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prizes, The Discovery of France is a modern non-fiction classic, a literary exploration of a remarkable nation. From maps and migration to magic, language and landscape, it reveals a France few will recognize. 'An extraordinary journey of discovery' Daily Telegraph 'Robb's concise and fast-paced writing pedals along with never a dull paragraph . . . dazzling' Sunday Times
In this real-life historical treasure hunt, bestselling author Graham Robb- one of the more unusual and appealing historians currently striding the planet (New York Times) -reveals the mapping of ancient Gaul as a reflection of the heavens, demonstrates the lasting influence of Druid science and recharts the exploration of the world and the spread of Christianity. This fascinating (Los Angeles Times) history offers nothing less than an entirely new understanding of the birth of modern Europe.
A partir de una revision de las obras literarias del siglo XIX, en este ensayo historico y social se hace una recapitulacion sobre las ideas y prejuicios sobre la homosexualidad, los problemas que enfrento no solo en el ambito publico sino tambien en el privado, haciendo un analisis de la constante pregunta por la causa de estos amores que aun considerados extranos, fueron ampliamente tolerados en esa epoca.
Unknown beyond the avant-garde at the time of his death, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) has been one of the most destructive and liberating influences on twentieth-century culture. During his lifetime he was a bourgeois-baiting visionary, and the list of his known crimes is longer than the list of his published poems. But his posthumous career is even more astonishing: saint to symbolists and surrealists; poster child for anarchy and drug use; gay pioneer; a major influence on artists from Picasso to Bob Dylan.
The nineteenth century was a golden age for those people known variously as sodomites, Uranians, monosexuals, and homosexuals. Long before Stonewall and Gay Pride, there was such a thing as gay culture, and it was recognized throughout Europe and America. Graham Robb, brilliant biographer of Balzac, Hugo, and Rimbaud, examines how homosexuals were treated by society and finds a tale of surprising tolerance. He describes the lives of gay men and women: how they discovered their sexuality and accepted or disguised it; how they came out; how they made contact with like-minded people. He also includes a fascinating investigation of the encrypted homosexuality of such famous nineteenth-century sleuths as Edgar Allan Poe's Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes himself (with glances forward in time to Batman and J. Edgar Hoover). Finally, Strangers addresses crucial questions of gay culture, including the riddle of its relationship to religion: Why were homosexuals created with feelings that the Creator supposedly condemns? This is a landmark work, full of tolerant wisdom, fresh research, and surprises.
In Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century, award-winning author Graham Robb explores the story - and history - of male and female homosexuality in the UK and US, uncovering elements from legislature, literature, medicine and day-to-day life that point to a particularly self-aware and sophisticated culture of Victorian homosexuality. Drawing on famous cases such as the Wilde trials, as well as a wide variety of previously neglected sources, Robb recreates this era with great insight, humour and aplomb, exploding modern myths and restoring the real and vibrant truth of homosexual love to today's readers: Strangers tells a tale that is in part familiar, and in part extremely surprising - a story of oppression and secrecy, but also of unexpected tolerance and familiarity.
Graham Robb's brilliant biography moves Rimbaud on from his perpetual adolescence where our imaginations have held him to show the extent of his transformations. From phenomenally precocious schoolboy he became Europe's most shocking and exhilarating poet, author of poems that range from the exquisite to the obscene. But this brief, five-year period as the enfant-terrible of French literature is only one small side of Rimbaud's story. Robb takes us on a biographical journey through three continents and many different identities. Rimbaud emerges from this stunning work of biographical scholarship and historical imagination as an even more complex, ambiguous and fascinating figure than ever before.
Graham Robb has produced a masterpiece literary biography in which Balzac bursts into life on every page. The living manifestation of the colourful and varied world he described, yet at the same time its most astonishing exception, Balzac is the perfect subject for biography. Robb skilfully interweaves the life with the work to paint an indelible and brilliantly compelling portrait of one of the great tragicomic heroes of the nineteenth century, a man whose influence both in and outside his native France has been and is still immense.
'One of the best biographies I have read, ever' Selina Hastings 'Mr Robb has written an enthralling book -- one of the great biographies of our time. He contrives not to be dwarfed by his subject, which is some contrivance. He makes of Hugo's life a story as exciting to read as it was extraordinary to have lived. He has a matchless gift for narrative. His style is epigrammatic and compelling. His judgements seem fair -- not something Hugo was used to in life. Every Place Victor Hugo should now have a Cafe-Bar Graham Robb. He deserves, and will probably get, the Legion d'honneur' Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph 'Robb achieves the goal of all good literary biographies by making us long to regain, or savour for the first time, Hugo's company as a writer. Surely no chronicler of his life or analyst of his work has ever looked this prodigy of nature so unflinchingly in the eye' Jonathan Keates, Literary Review 'Graham Robb's exuberant biography of the French writer blows the cobwebs away from a neglected hero and sets him before us in lurid and quite unforgettable shape. Robb's jaunty, self-confident style is gloriously appropriate to his subject ...Robb's enthusiasm is hugely exhilarating and his biography is a fascinating study in the making of a celebrity' Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times, Books of the Year 'The best life of the writer available in English (and likely to remain so for some time) . ..His fascinating, totally readable Life will introduce Hugo to many readers who know him only as a name' Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday
Almost a century after the death of the French poet Stephane Mallarme, readers still puzzle over his writings, still seek to understand his seemingly impenetrable philosophy. In this highly original book, Graham Robb reveals conclusive answers to the mysteries of Mallarme. Robb's discovery of a key to Mallarme's poetry is an exciting achievement that entirely redefines Mallarme studies, illuminates large areas of French poetry, both before and after Mallarme, and opens the way for new interpretations of some of the most complicated poems ever written. As Robb scrutinized the work of Mallarme, he discovered that the poet repeatedly used the hundred or so words in the French language that have no rhyme. This discovery, as Robb tells it, proved to be the first step of a staircase leading to a tomb which had remained sealed since Mallarme built it. It revealed the only perspective from which his poems made sense -as allegorical tales of their own creation. The theme of the poem turns out to be just one surface of a brilliantly coordinated whole. In the first part of the book, Robb defines and explores the development of Mallarme's approach; in the second he applies the method to specific poems; in the conclusion he suggests ways in which the key might be applied to other poems and poets; and in the epilogue he offers a guided tour through Mallarme's famously uninterpretable shipwreck poem, Un coup de des. The book reveals how Mallarme's self-reflecting, self-destructive work poses, and perhaps answers, the central questions of twentieth-century criticism.