I have a personal definition of what makes a good biography. Solid research and an understanding of the subject are a given, but what separates exceptional biographies from good ones is whether or not I find myself believing that I’m there with the subject, living the scenes, and experiencing the trials and triumphs. A simpler way to say it is, do I identify with the story being told about this person’s life?
Robert Graves: From Great War Poet to Good-Bye to All That 1895-1929 by Jean Moorcroft Wilson is one of those exceptional biographies. Almost all I knew about Graves was that he was the author of I Claudius and Claudius the God, written in the 1930s and popularized on PBS in the 1970s. Derek Jacobi starred in the title role. I was so mesmerized by the TV series that I read both books, learning that Graves had based his fictionalized story on the gossipy account by the Roman historian Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.