Matthew Dennison - Author

About the Author

Matthew Dennison is the author of the critically acclaimed 'The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter', written with the full assistance of the Royal Archives and published in nine UK editions to date, 'Empress of Rome: The Life of Livia', 'The Twelve Caesars' and 'Queen Victoria'. Described in the Independent as 'one of those rare marvels, a historical biographer whose work has reached the bestseller lists', he is also a regular contributor to Country Life, Telegraph Magazine, the Times and Majesty.

Featured books by Matthew Dennison

Behind the Mask The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Behind the Mask The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2015

Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West was a woman who defied categorisation. She was the dispossessed girl whose lonely childhood at Knole inspired enduring feats of imagination, the celebrated author and poet, the adored and affectionate wife whose marriage included passionate homosexual affairs (most famously with Virginia Woolf ), and the recluse who found in nature and her garden at Sissinghurst Castle solace from the contradictions of her extraordinary life. In this dazzling new biography, Matthew Dennison traces these complexities, depicting a prolific, radical, sensitive and uncompromising figure in all her depth.

Other books by Matthew Dennison

Eternal Boy The Life of Kenneth Grahame

Eternal Boy The Life of Kenneth Grahame

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2018

During the week Kenneth Grahame sat behind a mahogany desk as Secretary of the Bank of England; at the weekend he retired to the house in the country he shared with his fanciful wife Elspeth and fragile son Alistair and took lengthy walks along the Thames in Berkshire, 'tempted [by] the treasures of hedge and ditch; the rapt surprise of the first lords-and-ladies, the rustle of a field-mouse, the splash of a frog'. The result of these pastoral wanderings was The Wind in the Willows: an enduring classic of children's literature; a cautionary tale for adult readers; a warning of the fragility of the English countryside; and an expression of fear at threatened social changes that, in the aftermath of the World War I, became reality. Like its remarkable author, it balances maverick tendencies with conservatism. Graham was an Edwardian pantheist whose work has a timeless appeal, an escapist whose withdrawal from reality took the form of time travel into his own past.

The First Iron Lady A Life of Caroline of Ansbach

The First Iron Lady A Life of Caroline of Ansbach

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/10/2018

'A brilliant study of a brilliant woman' LUCY WORSLEY History has forgotten Caroline of Ansbach, yet in her lifetime she was compared frequently to Elizabeth I and considered by some as `the cleverest queen consort Britain ever had'. The intellectual superior of her buffoonish husband George II, Caroline is credited with hastening the Enlightenment to Britain through her sponsorship of red-hot debates about science, religion, philosophy and the nature of the universe. Encouraged by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, she championed inoculation; inspired by her friends Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, she mugged up on Newtonian physics; she embraced a salon culture which promoted developments in music, literature and garden design; she was a regular theatre-goer who loved the opera, gambling and dancing. Her intimates marvelled at the breadth of her interests. She was, said Lord Egmont, `curious in everything'. Caroline acted as Regent four times while her husband returned to Hanover, and during those periods she possessed authority over all domestic matters. No subsequent royal woman has exercised power on such a scale. So why has history forgotten this extraordinary queen? In this magnificent biography, the first for over seventy years, Matthew Dennison seeks to reverse this neglect. The First Iron Lady uncovers the complexities of Caroline's multifaceted life: the child of a minor German princeling who, through intelligence, determination and a dash of sex appeal, rose to occupy one of the great positions of the world and did so with distinction, elan and a degree of cynical realism. It is a remarkable portrait of an eighteenth-century woman of great political astuteness and ambition, a radical icon of female power.

First Iron Lady: A Life of Caroline of Ansbach

First Iron Lady: A Life of Caroline of Ansbach

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: eBook Release Date: 02/11/2017

'A brilliant study of a brilliant woman' LUCY WORSLEYHistory has forgotten Caroline of Ansbach, yet in her lifetime she was compared frequently to Elizabeth I and considered by some as 'the cleverest queen consort Britain ever had'. The intellectual superior of her buffoonish husband George II, Caroline is credited with hastening the Enlightenment to Britain through her sponsorship of red-hot debates about science, religion, philosophy and the nature of the universe. Encouraged by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, she championed inoculation; inspired by her friends Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, she mugged up on Newtonian physics; she embraced a salon culture which promoted developments in music, literature and garden design; she was a regular theatre-goer who loved the opera, gambling and dancing. Her intimates marvelled at the breadth of her interests. She was, said Lord Egmont, 'curious in everything'.Caroline acted as Regent four times while her husband returned to Hanover, and during those periods she possessed authority over all domestic matters. No subsequent royal woman has exercised power on such a scale. So why has history forgotten this extraordinary queen?In this magnificent biography, the first for over seventy years, Matthew Dennison seeks to reverse this neglect. The First Iron Lady uncovers the complexities of Caroline's multifaceted life: the child of a minor German princeling who, through intelligence, determination and a dash of sex appeal, rose to occupy one of the great positions of the world and did so with distinction, elan and a degree of cynical realism. It is a remarkable portrait of an eighteenth-century woman of great political astuteness and ambition, a radical icon of female power.

The First Iron Lady A Life of Caroline of Ansbach

The First Iron Lady A Life of Caroline of Ansbach

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/08/2017

'A brilliant study of a brilliant woman' LUCY WORSLEY History has forgotten Caroline of Ansbach, yet in her lifetime she was compared frequently to Elizabeth I and considered by some as `the cleverest queen consort Britain ever had'. The intellectual superior of her buffoonish husband George II, Caroline is credited with hastening the Enlightenment to Britain through her sponsorship of red-hot debates about science, religion, philosophy and the nature of the universe. Encouraged by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, she championed inoculation; inspired by her friends Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, she mugged up on Newtonian physics; she embraced a salon culture which promoted developments in music, literature and garden design; she was a regular theatre-goer who loved the opera, gambling and dancing. Her intimates marvelled at the breadth of her interests. She was, said Lord Egmont, `curious in everything'. Caroline acted as Regent four times while her husband returned to Hanover, and during those periods she possessed authority over all domestic matters. No subsequent royal woman has exercised power on such a scale. So why has history forgotten this extraordinary queen? In this magnificent biography, the first for over seventy years, Matthew Dennison seeks to reverse this neglect. The First Iron Lady uncovers the complexities of Caroline's multifaceted life: the child of a minor German princeling who, through intelligence, determination and a dash of sex appeal, rose to occupy one of the great positions of the world and did so with distinction, elan and a degree of cynical realism. It is a remarkable portrait of an eighteenth-century woman of great political astuteness and ambition, a radical icon of female power.

Over the Hills and Far Away The Life of Beatrix Potter

Over the Hills and Far Away The Life of Beatrix Potter

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/04/2017

Beatrix Potter is one of the world's bestselling, most cherished authors, whose books have enchanted generations of children for over a hundred years. Yet how she achieved this legendary status is just one of several stories of Beatrix Potter's remarkable and unexpected life. Inspired by the twenty-three 'tales', Matthew Dennison takes a selection of quotations from Potter's stories and uses them to explore her multi-faceted life and character: repressed Victorian daughter; thwarted lover; artistic genius; formidable countrywoman. They chart her transformation from a young girl with a love of animals and fairy tales into a bestselling author and canny businesswoman, so deeply unusual for the Victorian era in which she grew up. Embellished with photographs of Potter's life and her own illustrations, this short biography will delight anyone who has been touched by Beatrix Potter's work.

Over the Hills and Far Away

Over the Hills and Far Away

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: eBook Release Date: 06/10/2016

Beatrix Potter is one of the world's bestselling, most cherished authors, whose books have enchanted generations of children for over a hundred years. Yet how she achieved this legendary status is just one of several stories of Beatrix Potter's remarkable and unexpected life. Inspired by the twenty-three 'tales', Matthew Dennison takes a selection of quotations from Potter's stories and uses them to explore her multi-faceted life and character: repressed Victorian daughter;thwarted lover;artistic genius;formidable countrywoman. They chart her transformation from a young girl with a love of animals and fairy tales into a bestselling author and canny businesswoman, so deeply unusual for the Victorian era in which she grew up. Embellished with photographs of Potter's life and her own illustrations, this short biography will delight anyone who has been touched by Beatrix Potter's work.

Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions

Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: eBook Release Date: 06/10/2016

A fresh, witty, accessible life of Queen Victoria. Not since Lytton Strachey has the irony, contradictions and influence of this Queen been treated with such flourish or biographical insight.Reigning over a lifetime, Queen Victoria embodied the spirit of the contradictory era to which she lent her name. She championed modern art and photography but resisted education for the working classes and woman's suffrage; she advocated cultural imperialism, tempered by imperial compassion; in her deference to her husband Prince Albert and her protracted mourning of his death, she combined wifely submission with regal obstinacy.Original and accessible, 'Queen Victoria' is a compelling assessment of the ruler's mercurial character, her key relationships and her impact on her own age and beyond.

Over the Hills and Far Away The Life of Beatrix Potter

Over the Hills and Far Away The Life of Beatrix Potter

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/09/2016

Beatrix Potter is one of the world's bestselling, most cherished authors, whose books have enchanted generations of children for over a hundred years. Yet how she achieved this legendary status is just one of several stories of Beatrix Potter's remarkable and unexpected life. Inspired by the twenty-three 'tales', Matthew Dennison takes a selection of quotations from Potter's stories and uses them to explore her multi-faceted life and character: repressed Victorian daughter; thwarted lover; artistic genius; formidable countrywoman. They chart her transformation from a young girl with a love of animals and fairy tales into a bestselling author and canny businesswoman, so deeply unusual for the Victorian era in which she grew up. Embellished with photographs of Potter's life and her own illustrations, this short biography will delight anyone who has been touched by Beatrix Potter's work.

Behind the Mask The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Behind the Mask The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2015

Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West was a woman who defied categorisation. She was the dispossessed girl whose lonely childhood at Knole inspired enduring feats of imagination, the celebrated author and poet, the adored and affectionate wife whose marriage included passionate homosexual affairs (most famously with Virginia Woolf ), and the recluse who found in nature and her garden at Sissinghurst Castle solace from the contradictions of her extraordinary life. In this dazzling new biography, Matthew Dennison traces these complexities, depicting a prolific, radical, sensitive and uncompromising figure in all her depth.

Behind the Mask The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Behind the Mask The Life of Vita Sackville-West

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/10/2014

Aristocrat, literary celebrity, `Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West is perhaps best known as the creator, with her husband Harold Nicolson, of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, now the most visited gardens in Britain. In a career spanning more than forty years, she also made her mark as a prolific and accomplished writer. She was an award-winning poet, a best-selling novelist, a biographer, a travel writer and a journalist with a huge and devoted following. Images of Vita - striking, poised, aristocratic, and intellectual - remain iconic even now. Yet these public images do not tell all. Behind the mask another, more complicated Vita lay. Here, in the first biography to be written for thirty years, Matthew Dennison reveals a renegade, brave and charismatic woman: from a lonely childhood of immense privilege in her beloved family house Knole (which she, as a woman, could never inherit), to a celebrated and affectionate marriage which was nevertheless mutually `open' and strewn with passionate homosexual affairs (in Vita's case, most famously with Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis); from the hubbub of jewel-encrusted parties at Buckingham Palace, to the solace Vita found in nature and gardening and the eventual seclusion of her tower at Sissinghurst. Drawing on sources from archives across the globe as well as Vita's own prolific written output, Dennison traces the inspiration, triumphs and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. Devoted wife, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', reluctant courtier, recluse, lesbian, iconoclast - Dennison deftly weaves together the myriad strands of Vita's life to create a revealing and insightful portrait of the woman behind the mask.

Queen Victoria A Life of Contradictions

Queen Victoria A Life of Contradictions

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2014

A fresh, witty, accessible life of Queen Victoria. Not since Lytton Strachey has the irony, contradictions and influence of this Queen been treated with such flourish or biographical insight. Reigning over a lifetime, Queen Victoria embodied the spirit of the contradictory era to which she lent her name. She championed modern art and photography but resisted education for the working classes and woman's suffrage; she advocated cultural imperialism, tempered by imperial compassion; in her deference to her husband Prince Albert and her protracted mourning of his death, she combined wifely submission with regal obstinacy. Original and accessible, `Queen Victoria' is a compelling assessment of the ruler's mercurial character, her key relationships and her impact on her own age and beyond.

Behind the Mask

Behind the Mask

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: eBook Release Date: 09/01/2014

Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. In this stunning portrait of Vita Sackville-West, Matthew Dennison traces the triumph and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. His narrative charts a fascinating course from Vita's lonely childhood at Knole, through her affectionate but 'open' marriage to Harold Nicolson (during which both husband and wife energetically pursued homosexual affairs, Vita most famously with Virginia Woolf), and through Vita's literary successes and disappointments, to the famous gardens the couple created at Sissinghurst. The book tells how, from her privileged world of the aristocracy, Sackville-West brought her penchant for costume, play-acting and rebellion to the artistic vanguard of modern Britain. Dennison is the acclaimed author of many books including a biography of Queen Victoria. Here, in the first biography to be written of Vita for thirty years, he reveals the whole story and gets behind 'the beautiful mask' of Vita's public achievements to reveal an often troubled persona which heroically resisted compromise on every level. Drawing on wide-ranging sources and the extensive letters that sustained her marriage, this is a compelling story of love, loss and jealousy, of high-life and low points, of binding affection and illicit passion - a portrait of an extraordinary, 20th-century life.

Empress of Rome The Life of Livia

Empress of Rome The Life of Livia

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2011

Empress of Rome is the fascinating biography of one of the most perplexing and powerful figures of the ancient world: the empress Livia. Second wife of the emperor Augustus and the mother of his successor Tiberius, Livia has been vilified by posterity (most notably by Tacitus and Robert Graves) as the quintessence of the scheming Roman matriarch, poisoning her relatives one by one to smooth her son's path to the imperial throne. In this elegant and rigorously researched biography, Matthew Dennison rescues the historical Livia from this crudely drawn caricature of the popular imagination. He depicts a complex, courageous and richly gifted woman whose true crime was not was not murder but the exercise of power, and who, in a male-dominated society, had the energy to create for herself both a prominent public profile and a significant sphere of political influence.

The Last Princess The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter

The Last Princess The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter

Author: Matthew Dennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/01/2008

Queen Victoria's favourite child - the true story of a royal mother-daughter relationship that changed history Beatrice was the last child born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her father died when she was four and as Matthew Dennison relates Victoria came to depend on her youngest daughter absolutely, but she also demanded from her complete submission. It is an enthralling story, not just of a mother/daughter relationship, but of a Queen and subject relationship. Beatrice succumbed to her mother's obsessive love, so that by the time she was in her late teens she was her constant companion and running her mother's office, which meant that when Victoria died her daughter became literary executor, a role she conducted with teutonic thoroughness. She edited and bowdlerised her mother's Journals that cover 70 years and where possible her voluminous correspondence. Although Victoria tried to prevent Beatrice even so much as thinking of love, her guard slipped when Beatrice was 29. She met Liko, Prince Henry of Battenberg, and fell in love. Beatrice, however, did not end up simply as a wife and mother. She loved music and composed a military march which remains in the repertoire of British regimental bands, she sang and she painted. Matthew Dennison draws on extensive new material to restore Princess Beatrice to her rightful place as a key figure in the Victorian dynasty.

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