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Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman

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en Limba Engleză Carte Hardback – 29 Sep 2016
ECONOMIST AND SPECTATOR BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016

'An extraordinary book ... exceptionally fascinating, always readable and penetratingly intelligent' David Abulafia
'As rich, funny and teemingly peopled as Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time ... Dinshaw writes with wit and elegance, and the most elegiac passages of Outlandish Knight evoke a lost society London and way of life' Ben Judah, Financial Times

'This dazzling young writer is a mine of fascinating, memorable and totally useless information... I have been riveted by this book from start to finish, and leave the reader with one word of advice. Watch Minoo Dinshaw. He will go far' John Julius Norwich, Sunday Telegraph
The biography of one of the greatest British historians - but also of a uniquely strange and various man
In his enormously long life, Steven Runciman managed not just to be a great historian of the Crusades and Byzantium, but Grand Orator of the Orthodox Church, a member of the Order of Whirling Dervishes, Greek Astronomer Royal and Laird of Eigg. His friendships, curiosities and intrigues entangled him in a huge array of different artistic movements, civil wars, Cold War betrayals and, above all, the rediscovery of the history of the Eastern Mediterranean. He was as happy living in a remote part of the Inner Hebrides as in the heart of Istanbul. He was obsessed with historical truth, but also with tarot, second sight, ghosts and the uncanny.
Outlandish Knight is a dazzling debut by a writer who has prodigious gifts, but who also has had the ability to spot one of the great biographical subjects. This is an extremely funny book about a man who attracted the strangest experiences, but also a very serious one. It is about the rigours of a life spent in the distant past, but also about the turbulent world of the twentieth century, where so much that Runciman studied and cherished would be destroyed.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9780241004937
ISBN-10: 0241004934
Pagini: 784
Dimensiuni: 162 x 240 x 50 mm
Greutate: 1.33 kg
Editura: Penguin Books
Colecția Allen Lane
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom

Recenzii

Brilliantly entertaining ... Mr Dinshaw's choice of subject for his first book is an inspired one. He interweaves the strands of a long and variegated life with sympathy, elegance and awareness of the wider picture ... Mr Dinshaw has done Runciman proud. To whom will he turn his attention next?
Minoo Dinshaw's biography is itself a splendid mosaic, a careful and well-written account ... I wonder where Minoo Dinshaw goes from here. His is a splendid book, to be put at once onto the Wolfson Prize shortlist.
An astonishing feat of empathy as well as research ... What keeps the reader's interest on every page is, precisely, this biographer's sensitivity to atmosphere and his humorous awareness ... Near-omniscient thoroughness, gentle humour and psychological precision.
'An extraordinary book ... exceptionally fascinating, always readable and penetratingly intelligent account of one of Britain's most distinguished and colourful historians'
More than a biography; it is also a work of substantial literary criticism... This dazzling young writer is a mine of fascinating, memorable and totally useless information... I have been riveted by this book from start to finish, and leave the reader with one word of advice. Watch Minoo Dinshaw. He will go far
Casts fresh light on [Runciman's] sexuality and his adventures as a part-time spy.
This biography is both funny and erudite and empathetic but critical as it chronicles a fascinating caste of dangerously charming spies, poet-scholars, scheming Oxbridge academics, dashing majors and clever queens.
Dinshaw does a superb job in avoiding a chronological cradle-to-grave account of the life. Only towards the end of the book, for example, does he deal with Runciman's homosexuality, and his judgment here is perfectly balanced. The account of Runciman's old age (he died, aged 97, in 2000), playing the laird and host at his Borders tower Elshieshiels, couldn't be bettered. ... [Dinshaw] vividly brings alive this secretive, ludic man, making good his case that Runciman, like all the best historians, should be considered, first and foremost, as a writer
This obscure, ever-so-slightly discredited historian is an inspired choice of subject by Minoo Dinshaw. ... Dinshaw, rather than writing a crisp biography, has written a gigantic one, as rich, funny and teemingly peopled as Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time ... Dinshaw writes with wit and elegance, and the most elegiac passages of Outlandish Knight evoke a lost society London and way of life
A kaleidoscopic biography, studded with vivid portraits and entertaining footnotes. The writing is as elegant and as attentive to cadence as Runciman's ... Dinshaw has Runciman's talent for characterisation. ... Minoo has triumphed. He conjures up the worlds, works and harlequin career of Runciman with a magical touch of his own.
Monumentally impressive: scholarly, witty and gorgeously written
Dinshaw bubbles with nimble wit, wicked gossip, curious oddities and a walloping glee for his subject
By the time he died, in 2000 at the age of 97, Sir Steven Runciman had become convinced that he was a relic of a past age and the embodiment of a nearly mythical era. A lively life of a colourful British historian who was best known for his work on the Crusades, by a promising young author. A debut to be proud of.
There are times, reading this assured biography of Sir Steven Runciman, when one's attention swerves from the life and times of the great Byzantinist to focus on his biographer. Who is the young Proteus of research, balanced judgement and feline wit? Runciman was famously a stylist; so is Minoo Dinshaw. Historian, gossip and queer, Runciman was a mine of anecdote ... Dinshaw can certainly keep up... Dinshaw himself writes with extraordinary poise and confidence ... We are dealing with a high order of intelligence combined, what is more rare, with powerful diligence. Bravo.
Now, seventeen years after his death, Runciman has found a suitably inquisitive and industrious biographer. Minoo Dinshaw's immense book leaves no source untapped, no incident unexplored, no book undefended, and no character, however fleeting the appearance or walk-on part, unidentified. In his fascination with personal detail, Dinshaw mimics his subject. He captures both Runciman's kaleidoscopic social world and his elusive nature-ludic but paradoxically serious-with acuteness... for those interested in elite British life in the twentieth century, there is much to instruct, intrigue, and entertain.

Notă biografică

Minoo Dinshaw lives in London and Outlandish Knight is his first book.