Miranda Seymour - Author

About the Author

Miranda Seymour, author of the award-winning In My Father's House has written many acclaimed novels and biographies, including lives of Mary Shelley, Robert Graves, Ottoline Morrell and Helle Nice, the Bugatti Queen.

Featured books by Miranda Seymour

Noble Endeavours The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories

Noble Endeavours The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/05/2014

On the eve of marking the centenary of the opening of the hostilities that devastated the world and changed its history, old wounds gape rawly open. No two countries in Europe possess a stronger history of cultural and familial sympathy, trust and mutual respect than Britain and Germany. This book sets out the diverse stories of some of the people who contributed to the building of a house of shared dreams and aspirations, of mutual enlightenment and fruitful exchange. These are the stories of emperors, kings and queens, of travellers, writers, artists, students and political exiles; of ambassadors, reformers and the families so closely woven into the fabric of both countries that, when war came, divided loyalties ripped them apart. All these people have played their part. All, in their different ways, are remarkable; all deserve to be called noble for what they set out to achieve. All - glimpsed here only at the point where they contribute to the story of England and Germany - have earned their place in a history of the love and mutual admiration that two nations once shared - and that they deserve to share again.

Other books by Miranda Seymour

In Byron's Wake

In Byron's Wake

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/03/2018

'This magnificent, highly readable double biography...brings these two driven, complicated women vividly to life' The Financial Times 'A gripping saga of a double-biography' Daily Mail 'A masterful portrait' The Times 'Vastly enjoyable' Literary Review 'Deeply absorbing and meticulously researched' The Oldie In 1815, the clever, courted and cherished Annabella Milbanke married the notorious and brilliant Lord Byron. Just one year later, she fled, taking with her their baby daughter, the future Ada Lovelace. Byron himself escaped into exile and died as a revolutionary hero in 1824, aged 36. The one thing he had asked his wife to do was to make sure that their daughter never became a poet. Ada didn't. Brought up by a mother who became one of the most progressive reformers of Victorian England, Byron's little girl was introduced to mathematics as a means of calming her wild spirits. Educated by some of the most learned minds in England, she combined that scholarly discipline with a rebellious heart and a visionary imagination. As a child invalid, Ada dreamed of building a steam-driven flying horse. As an exuberant and boldly unconventional young woman, she amplified her explanations of Charles Babbage's unbuilt calculating engine to predict, as nobody would do for another century, the dawn today of our modern computer age. When Ada died - like her father, she was only 36 - great things seemed still to lie ahead for her as a passionate astronomer. Even while mired in debt from gambling and crippled by cancer, she was frenetically employing Faraday's experiments with light refraction to explore the analysis of distant stars. Drawing on fascinating new material, Seymour reveals the ways in which Byron, long after his death, continued to shape the lives and reputations both of his wife and his daughter. During her life, Lady Byron was praised as a paragon of virtue; within ten years of her death, she was vilified as a disgrace to her sex. Well over a hundred years later, Annabella Milbanke is still perceived as a prudish wife and cruelly controlling mother. But her hidden devotion to Byron and her tender ambitions for his mercurial, brilliant daughter reveal a deeply complex but unsuspectedly sympathetic personality. Miranda Seymour has written a masterful portrait of two remarkable women, revealing how two turbulent lives were often governed and always haunted by the dangerously enchanting, quicksilver spirit of that extraordinary father whom Ada never knew.

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/02/2018

`The most dazzling biography of a female writer to have come my way for a decade...' - Financial Times `To be savoured for its vivid and sympathetic recreation of the tragic life and brilliant times of the gifted Mary Shelley' - Times Literary Supplement `Brilliant and enthralling' - Independent On Sunday 'Wonderfully vivid' - Spectator The definitive and richly woven biography of Mary Shelley, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein The creator of the world's most famous outsider became one herself . . . There is no more dramatic scene in literary history than the stormy night by Lake Geneva when Byron, Claire Clairmont, Polidori and the Shelleys met to talk of horror and the unexplained. From that emerged Frankenstein, a monster who has haunted imaginations for two hundred years. Miranda Seymour illustrates the rich and unexplored life of Mary Shelley. Everything from her childhood to her tempestuous relationship with Percy Shelley; Seymour brings to life the brilliant mind that created Frankenstein through unexplored and intriguing sources. The Mary Shelley we meet here is a woman we can engage with and understand. Her world, so rich in its settings and its cast of characters, seems drawn from a novel. She, at its centre, is flawed, brave, generous, and impetuous, a woman whose dark and brilliant imagination gave us a myth which seems ever more potent in our own era.

The Pity of War England and Germany, Bitter Friends, Beloved Foes

The Pity of War England and Germany, Bitter Friends, Beloved Foes

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/11/2017

In 1613, a beautiful Stuart princess married a handsome young German prince. This was a love match, but it was also an alliance that aimed to meld Europe's two great Protestant powers. Before Elizabeth and Frederick left London for the court in Heidelberg, they watched a performance of The Winter's Tale. In 1943, a group of British POWs gave a performance of that same play to a group of enthusiastic Nazi guards in Bavaria. Nothing about the story of England and Germany, as this remarkable book demonstrates, is as simple as we might expect. Miranda Seymour tells the forgotten story of England's centuries of profound connection and increasingly rivalrous friendship with Germany, linked by a shared faith, a shared hunger for power, a shared culture (Germany never doubted that Shakespeare belonged to them, as much as to England), and a shared leadership. German monarchs ruled over England for three hundred years-and only ceased to do so through a change of name. This extraordinary and heart-breaking history-told through the lives of princes and painters, soldiers and sailors, bakers and bankers, charlatans and saints-traces two countries so entwined that one German living in England in 1915 refused to choose where his allegiance lay. It was, he said, as if his parents had quarreled. Germany's connection to the island it loved, patronized, influenced, and fought was unique. Indeed, British soldiers went to war in 1914 against a country to which many of them-as one freely confessed the week before his death on the battlefront-felt more closely connected than to their own. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished papers and personal interviews, the author has uncovered stories that remind us-poignantly, wittily, and tragically-of the powerful bonds many have chosen to forget.

Noble Endeavours The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories

Noble Endeavours The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/05/2014

On the eve of marking the centenary of the opening of the hostilities that devastated the world and changed its history, old wounds gape rawly open. No two countries in Europe possess a stronger history of cultural and familial sympathy, trust and mutual respect than Britain and Germany. This book sets out the diverse stories of some of the people who contributed to the building of a house of shared dreams and aspirations, of mutual enlightenment and fruitful exchange. These are the stories of emperors, kings and queens, of travellers, writers, artists, students and political exiles; of ambassadors, reformers and the families so closely woven into the fabric of both countries that, when war came, divided loyalties ripped them apart. All these people have played their part. All, in their different ways, are remarkable; all deserve to be called noble for what they set out to achieve. All - glimpsed here only at the point where they contribute to the story of England and Germany - have earned their place in a history of the love and mutual admiration that two nations once shared - and that they deserve to share again.

Noble Endeavours The life of two countries, England and Germany, in many stories

Noble Endeavours The life of two countries, England and Germany, in many stories

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/08/2013

In 1613 a beautiful Stuart princess married a handsome young German prince. This was a love match, but it was also an alliance that aimed to weld together Europe's two great Protestant powers. Before Elizabeth and Frederick left London for the court in Heidelberg, they watched a performance of The Winter's Tale. In 1943, a group of British POWS gave a performance of that same play to a group of enthusiastic Nazi guards in Bavaria. When the amateur actors suggested doing a version of The Merchant of Venice that showed Shylock as the hero, the guards brought in the costumes and helped create the sets. Nothing about the story of England and Germany, as this remarkable book demonstrates, is as simple as we might expect. A shared faith, a shared hunger for power, a shared culture (Germany never doubted that Shakespeare belonged to them, as much as to England); a shared leadership. German monarchs ruled over England for three hundred years - and only ceased to do so through a change of name. Miranda Seymour has written a rich and heart-breaking story that needs to be heard: the vibrant, extraordinary history - told through the lives of kings and painters, soldiers and sailors, sugar-bakers and bankers, charlatans and saints - of two countries so entwined that one man, asked for his allegiance in 1916, said he didn't know because it felt as though his parents had quarrelled. Thirteen years of Nazi power can never be forgotten. But should thirteen years blot out four centuries of a profound, if rivalrous, friendship? Speaking in 1984, a remarkable Jew who fought for Germany in one war and for England in the next called for an end to the years of mistrust. Quarter of a century later, that mistrust remains as strong as ever and Hitler remains Germany's most familiar face. The stories that Miranda Seymour has recovered from a wealth of unpublished material and exceptional sources, remind us, poignantly, wittily and tragically, of all that we have chosen to forget.

The Telling

The Telling

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/08/2011

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2011

Mary Shelley's own life was as dramatic as her fiction. Even had she not (at the age of 19) authored Frankenstein, one of the greatest horror fables in literature, she would be crucial to the study of Romanticism, as the daughter of two of the great radical thinkers of the day, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (who died following Mary's birth); and as the second Mrs Percy Bysshe Shelley, her companion for that stormy stay at Byron's Geneva villa in 1816 - the 'haunted summer' that begat Frankenstein. Drawing on unexplored sources, Miranda Seymour's hugely acclaimed biography penetrates the myth to offer the fullest, richest portrait of this extraordinary woman. 'Mary Shelley is the most dazzling biography of a female writer to have come my way for an entire decade.' Financial Times 'Brilliant and enthralling, this portrait illuminates Mary's life in many unexpected ways.' Independent on Sunday 'Miranda Seymour has vivid narrative gifts and a perceptive understanding of the main personalities.' New York Times Book Review 'A thoughtfully considered and exceptionally lifelike portrait of a complex and often misunderstood character.' Los Angeles Times 'A harrowing life, wonderfully retold.' Washington Post Book World 'A splendid biography.' New Yorker

Chaplin's Girl The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill

Chaplin's Girl The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2010

In 1931, City Lightsintroduced Charlie Chaplin's new female star to the world. The film - defiantly silent in the age of talkies - was an immediate and international hit. The actress who played the romantic lead had never been on screen or stage before. Chaplin's film turned her into the most famous girl in the world. Virginia Cherrill was the beautiful daughter of an Illinois rancher, who ran away to live through some of Hollywood's wildest years. She was the adoring first wife who broke Cary Grant's heart when she left him; who turned down the gloriously eligible Maharajah of Jaipur to befriend his wife and rescue her from purdah. Virginia Cherrill presided, during the thirties, over one of England's loveliest houses, as the Countess of Jersey. Everybody sought her friendship. All that eluded her was love. And when she found it, she gave up all she had to marry a handsome and penniless Polish flying ace, whose dream it was to become a cowboy. In this glorious, and undiscovered story of Hollywood, international high society, wartime drama and romance, Miranda Seymour works from unpublished sources to recapture the personality of a woman so vividly enchanting that none could resist her. This is the story of Cinderalla in reverse: of the poor girl who won everything - and gave up all for love. Breathtakingly romantic, exquisitely written, this is the stuff that dreams are made of . . .

Ottoline Morrell Life on the Grand Scale

Ottoline Morrell Life on the Grand Scale

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/09/2008

This biography reveals Ottoline Morrell, London's leading literary hostess during the first three decades of the 20th century. Augustus John, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf and W.B. Yeats enjoyed her hospitality and she was Bertrand Russell's mistress for many years. To some she was a lover, to others a confidante and adviser. To many she was a mother substitute. A half-sister of the Duke of Portland and wife to a Liberal MP, she ran a celebrated salon before the First World War, swiftly emerging as a personality in her own right. Her influence was enormous: Huxley was one of many young writers who described her as having given him 'a complete mental re-orientation.' Miranda Seymour is the only Bloomsbury biographer to be allowed access to family papers which include Morrell's lost correspondence with Lytton Strachey and the revealing private records she kept from 1902 (the year of her marriage) to her death in 1938. This is also the first life of Morrell to have full benefit of Bertrand Russell's 2,500 letters to her. Fresh and often startling light is thrown not only on her passionate relationship with Russell and on her curious marriage to Philip Morrell, which survived against all odds, but also on the Bloomsberries, their snobbery, their malice and their deceit.

The Bugatti Queen

The Bugatti Queen

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/02/2005

THE BUGATTI QUEEN is the beautifully illustrated story of an indomitable and fascinating woman, a pioneer of motorsport who revelled in danger. Born in 1900 in a tiny French village, Helene Delangle, aka Helle Nice, became a dancer and a stripper before catching the eye of Ettore Bugatti. Seduced by the combination of machines and speed, Helle Nice went on to have an unprecedented career, competing in numerous Grands Prix and becoming the only woman to drive on the treacherous American speedbowls in the 1930s. She set new land-speed records before a notorious accident which almost ended her racing days. Re-creating her rollercoaster career with authority and panache from many previously unpublished sources, Miranda Seymour reveals the story of an unforgettable life and sheds new light on the extraordinary and reckless world of motor-racing between the wars.

Robert Graves Life on the Edge

Robert Graves Life on the Edge

Author: Miranda Seymour Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2003

Robert Graves (1895-1985) was one of the greatest poets and polymaths of the twentieth century, whose long life matched the intensity of his imaginative output. From his distinguished exploits in the First World War, described in his memoir GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, to his dramatic relationships with women, most notably the American poet and essayist Laura Riding, his life was one of extremes: he sought pain, took huge emotional risks, and lived as if each day were his last. First published to mark the centenary of his birth, Miranda Seymour's acclaimed biography was written with the full co-operation of the Graves family. Her interviews and correspondence with many people who have not previously discussed Graves in public contribute to a rich and complex portrait of a troubled man and a great creative artist. I have never been able to understand the contention that a poet's life is irrelevant to his work, Graves said. Miranda Seymour puts Graves's statement to the test in this superb biography and, thrillingly, demonstrates its validity.

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