Edward Gordon
'A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, and Their Remarkable Families' by Michael Holroyd

When Michael Holroyd takes on a subject, you know his sweep will be wide. This is not to say that he forfeits depth -- far from it -- but rather that he puts things in the fullest possible context. His groundbreaking biography of Lytton Strachey more than 40 years ago not only established him as a first-rate practitioner of the art but also blew the lid off the Bloomsbury group with his revelations of their hitherto discreetly covered-up antics. Indeed, he is both forefather and godfather to the hundreds of works exploring the lives, loves and libidos of that fascinating crowd. Holroyd was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 "for services to literature," but he has probably...