WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY RUTH SCURR John Aubrey was a modest man, a self-styled antiquarian and the man who invented modern biography. His ‘lives’ of the prominent figures of his generation and the Elizabethan era, including Shakespeare, Milton and Sir Walter Raleigh, have been plundered by historians for centuries for their frankness and fascinating detail. Collected here are all of Aubrey’s biographical writings, a series of unforgettable portraits of the characters of his day, still more alive and kicking than in any conventional work of history.
With deft, picturesque prose, Aubrey presents biographical sketches for an intriguing and colorful parade of statesmen, poets, philosophers, and scientists, including Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, and Rene Descartes, as well as a host of lesser known but equally fascinating figures. This anecdotal, gossipy collection brings to life the tumultuous world of Elizabethan and Stuart England and its revolutions in politics, science and morality. At the same time, Aubrey revels in the sheer variety of human nature and in the detailed, intimate, and sometimes scandalous aspects of his subjects' lives. An antiquarian, Aubrey began his collection as source material for his friend Anthony Wood's histories of Oxford University. In this new edition, more faithful to the original text than previous versions, Brief lives emerges as a revolution in the art of English biography, a mixture of entertainment and erudition, and a lively portrait of an age.
This is the first scholarly edition of Aubrey's Brief Lives since 1898, the first to include the complete text of the three Brief Lives manuscripts (including censored and deleted material, title pages, antiquarian notes, and the indices), and the first to provide a full general and critical introduction and comprehensive commentary. This edition is the first to respect the original arrangement of the Lives in Aubrey's manuscripts. Brief Lives is presented as an antiquarian and collaborative text, containing the autograph papers of biographical subjects, the annotations of those among whom the manuscripts circulated, and wax seals. As well as 25 facsimile pages, there are over 160 images, reproducing for the first time all Aubrey's horoscopes, pedigrees, coats of arms, and topographical sketches as they are found in the manuscripts. The text respects the mise-en-page of the manuscript and its status as an incomplete and heavily revised work-in-progress while presenting an edited, rather than a diplomatic, text. The commentary presents extensive new research on manuscript sources including much material not previously known to be Aubrey's or associated with him. It also reflects the state of current scholarship. Each life is introduced by a headnote placing the life in context. This gives the dates and sequence of composition and an account of Aubrey's relationship with the biographical subject, the circulation of knowledge of that subject in Aubrey's circle, and a full account of Aubrey's notes on the subject of the life in other manuscripts and correspondence. Aubrey's biographical informants also have a long note, as do uncompleted or missing Lives.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD This is the autobiography that John Aubrey never wrote. You may not know his name. Aubrey was a modest man, a gentleman-scholar who cared far more for the preservation of history than for his own legacy. But he was a passionate collector, an early archaeologist and the inventor of modern biography. With all the wit, charm and originality that characterises her subject, Ruth Scurr has seamlessly stitched together John Aubrey’s own words to tell his life story and a captivating history of seventeenth-century England unlike any other. 'A game-changer in the world of biography' Mary Beard 'Ingenious' Hilary Mantel 'Irresistible' Philip Pullman
Trinity is one of Oxford's most beautiful colleges, a close community set in four acres of gardens in the centre of the City. This book focuses on the lives of ordinary Fellows, students, and servants of the College, and uses many contemporary records and early prints and photographs. It tells the story of how one small college of celibate priests has been shaped by national and world events over the past 450 years, and how it has evolved into the centre of education and research that it is today. Publication will coincide with the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the College in 2005.