Andrew Lycett has a degree in history from Oxford University. After several years as a foreign correspondent, he has been a biographer since the early 1990s. His books include highly praised lives of Ian Fleming, Dylan Thomas, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographical Society. He lives in North London.
1868, and bestselling author Wilkie Collins is hard at work on a new detective novel, The Moonstone. But he is weighed down by a mountain of problems - his own sickness, the death of his mother, and, most pressing, the announcement by his live-in mistress that she has tired of his relationship with another woman and intends to marry someone else. His solution is to increase his industrial intake of opium and knuckle down to writing the book T. S. Eliot called the 'greatest' English detective novel. Of Wilkie's domestic difficulties, not a word to the outside world: indeed, like his great friend Charles Dickens, he took pains to keep secret any detail of his menage. There's no doubt that the arrangement was unusual and, for Wilkie, precarious, particularly since his own books focused on uncovering such deeply held family secrets. Indeed, he was the master of the Victorian sensation novel, fiction that left readers on the edge of their seats as mysteries and revelations abounded. In this colourful investigative portrait, Andrew Lycett draws Wilkie Collins out from the shadow of Charles Dickens. Wilkie is revealed as a brilliant, witty, friendly, contrary and sensual man, deeply committed to his work. Here he is given his rightful place at the centre of the literary, artistic and historical movements of his age.
The definitive biography of Wilkie Collins: the Victorian novelist, playwright, author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White, who lived a life of sensation. Wilkie Collins, author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White, was the master of the Victorian sensation novel, but he also had a complex private life that could have come straight out of one of his bestselling novels. While his books focused on uncovering family secrets, Wilkie was determined to keep his own unconventional domestic arrangements - living with two women, neither of them his wife - hidden from the outside world. In this colourful investigative biography, set against the backdrop of Victorian London, Andrew Lycett brings to life one of England's greatest writers and reveals a brilliant, contrary and sensual man, deeply committed to his work.
Paragon of English virtues or racist imperialist? Andrew Lycett (acclaimed biographer of Ian Fleming) has returned to primary sources to tell the intricate story of a misunderstood genius who became Britain's most famous and highest earning author. Among the many new sources, Lycett has discovered previously unpublished letters that illuminate Kipling's crucial years in India, his first girlfriend (the model for Mrs Hauksbee of Plain Tales from the Hills), his parents' decision to send him back to England to boarding school; and in his adult life his use of opium, his frustrating times in London and the brief peace he found in America before the devastating loss of both his young daughter and, in the First World War, his son. Lycett also uncovers the extraordinary story of Kipling's great love for Flo Garrard, daughter of the crown jeweller, and unravels the complicated yet enthralling saga of the American family the Balestiers, and of Carrie Balestier who became Kipling's wife. This biography is full of new material on Kipling's financial dealings with Lord Beaverbrook, his friendships with T.E. Lawrence, the painter Edward Burne-Jones and the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (who was his cousin).
Although Rudyard Kipling never fought, he was one of Britiain's foremost observers of and commentators on war. Through his writing on the harsh realities of life as a private and accounts of feats of courage and comradeship during the frontier wars in India, 19th century British campaigns in Sudan, the Boer Wars and the First World War, he became the poet of the common soldier. Although he wrote propaganda for the government in the Boer and First World Wars, Kipling was also acerbic in his criticism of military incompetence, deeply compassionate towards the victims of war and despairing of the senseless bloodshed that he witnessed. Through his writing, the voices of countless soldiers and the guns of many battles echo through the years and place Kipling firmly firmly among the leading practitioners of 19th and 20th century war literature.
Ground-breaking biography of the creator of fiction's best loved detectiveThough Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's name is recognised the world over, for decades he was overshadowed by his creation, Sherlock Holmes - one of literature's most enduring characters. Conan Doyle was a man of many contradictions. Romantic, energetic, idealistic and upstanding, he could also be selfish and foolhardy. Lycett assembles the many threads of Conan Doyle's life, including the lasting impact of his domineering mother and his alcoholic father; his affair with a younger woman while his wife lay dying; and his fanatical pursuit of scientific data to prove and explain various supernatural phenomena.Lycett combines access to new material with assiduous research and penetrating insight to offer the most comprehensive, lucid and sympathetic portrait yet of Conan Doyle's personal journey from student to doctor, from world-famous author to ardent spiritualist.
In this authoritative, fresh, and compelling account of the extraordinary life and enduring work of Dylan Thomas-author of Under Milkwood, A Child's Christmas in Wales, Adventures in the Skin Trade, Portrait of the Artist As a Young Dog, and numerous poems and stories-Andrew Lycett peels back the layers of story that have accumulated around this extraordinarily talented writer, one of the most celebrated and contradictory literary figures of the twentieth century. Lycett uses as his overwhelming motif the deeply ambivalent forces in Thomas' life-"e;I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me"e; said Thomas-that allowed him to be a wild boy in public and a poet of deep sensitivity in private, and helped him to bridge the gap between modernism and pop, the written and the spoken word, individual art and performance art.
The definitive biography of the poet who was almost as notorious for his 'rock 'n' roll' lifestyle as his artistic workDylan Thomas was a romantic and controversial figure; a poet who lived to excess and died young. An inventive genius with a gift for both lyrical phrases and impish humour, he also wrote for films and radio, and was renowned for his stage performances. He became the first literary star in the age of popular culture - a favourite of both T.S. Eliot and John Lennon.As his status as a poet and entertainer increased, so did his alcoholic binges and his sexual promiscuity, threatening to destroy his marriage to his fiery Irish wife Caitlin. As this extraordinary biography reveals, he was a man of many contradictions. But out of his tempestuous life, he produced some of the most dramatic and enduring poetry in the English language.
The definitive biography of author Ian Fleming and the perfect read for anyone enjoying the Sky Atlantic biopic starring Dominic Cooper.Ian Fleming's life was just as dramatic as that of his fictional creation, James Bond. Andrew Lycett's direct access to Fleming's family, friends and contemporaries has enabled him to reveal the truth behind the complicated facade of this enigmatic and remarkable man. With an extraordinary cast of characters, this is biography at is best - part history, part gossip and part an informed reassessment of one of this century's most celebrated yet mysterious personalities.