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Insights: The Romantic Poets and their Circle

Romantic Poets and their Circle cover

Richard Holmes is well known for his many books on the Romantic period, including Shelley: The Pursuit , Footsteps and Sidetracks, and his two-volume biography of Coleridge, which won the Whitbread Prize. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and First Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia.


210 x 140mm, 112 pages
85 illustrations, 20,000 words
ISBN 1 85514 355 0
£9.99 (hardback)
Published October 2005

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Out of Print

Richard Holmes

The popular ideal of the 'inspired' artist - beautiful, brooding and young - owes its origin to portraits of the poets, writers and artists of the Romantic period. This group revolutionised English art and literature transforming our understanding of creativity and the individual imagination.

Richard Holmes's engaging text explores the portraits and lives of Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats and the circle that formed around Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William and Dorothy Wordsworth in the early nineteenth century. In a series of biographies, he traces the inconsistencies between the stereotypical image of the Romantic artist as an isolated creative genius with the sociable, sometimes provocative behaviour of many personalities in the group. The English Regency was a society of contradictions: on the one hand self-confident and elegant; on the other hand violent and dissolute. Yet there was a growing public hunger for glamorous, humorous and erotic images. During the Regency period, portraiture flourished and the celebrity of male, and increasingly female, poets, writers and artists grew.

The Romantic Poets and their Circle presents a fascinating illustrated history of an extraordinary generation, and assesses the impact of their work on contemporary culture and society.

National Portrait Gallery Insights
New series

National Portrait Gallery Insights is a new series of illustrated books on literary and artistic personalities and themes, based on the collections of the National Portrait Gallery. Commissioned to demonstrate the significance of portraits when discussing history, art history and biography, each book has been beautifully designed by leading international design consultancy Pentagram Design and features over eighty exquisite stunning illustrations.

This innovative new series aims to explore the ways in which groups of people are drawn together - whether by birth, via education or through their artistic and intellectual vision - to make a powerful impact on cultural history. Written by well-known authors in their field, this exciting series provides a compelling way of exploring British history and biography.

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