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In My Good Books

Written for publication in The Guardian, In My Good Books was a series of articles on the literary aspects of biography, autobiography, and life-writing in general. The James Fenton Website archived these articles in their entirety and with all editorial deletions restored. In addition, James Fenton often included additional notes and annotations not appearing in The Guardian publication.

In My Good Books Archive

All articles were first published in The Guardian

'V.S.Pritchett and the War-Time Reader.' The Guardian, 17 September 2005 [VS Pritchett].

'Hazlitt's Last Book.' The Guardian, 24 September 2005 [On Hazlitt].

'Coleridge as an Enemy of Intimate Biography.' The Guardian, 1 October 2005 [On Romantic biography].

'Early Autobiographies: What They Are Like.' The Guardian, 8 October 2005 [On the origins of English autobiography].

'Autobiography of a Suicide.' The Guardian, 15 October 2005: 23 [On writings about suicide].

'The Journal of the Last Tudor King.' The Guardian, 22 October 2005: 23 [On the memoir of Edward VI].

'Renaissance Man, Warts and All,' The Guardian, 29 October 2005 [On Girolamo Cardano].

'Roger North's "Notes of Me",' The Guardian, 5 November 2005 [Roger North's Notes of Me].

'Beethoven's Trouser-Button,' The Guardian, 12 November 2005 [On Gerhard von Breuning, Beethoven's Trouser-Button].

'Playing for Beethoven,' The Guardian, 19 November 2005 [On the modest memoir of Beethoven by Ferdinand Ries, who was taught piano by the master].

'Body of Evidence,' The Guardian, 26 November 2005 [On James Miranda Barry].

'Affairs of the Heart,' The Guardian, 3 December 2005 [On William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft].

'Tchaikovsky at Niagara Falls,' The Guardian, 10 December 2005 [On Tchaikovsky's month in New York].

'Virginia Woolf on Biography,' The Guardian, 17 December 2005 [On Virginia Woolf's take on biography].

'Many Lives of William Blake,' The Guardian, 24 December 2005.

'A New Kind of Human Story,' The Guardian, 31 December 2005 [On whether Johnson invented modern biography].

'Inside the Ancien Regime,' The Guardian, 7 January 2006 [On the memoirs of Madame de la Tour du Pin].

'Between Principle and Inclination,' The Guardian, 14 January 2006 [On Benjamin Franklin's autobiography].

'What Happened to the Head?' The Guardian, 21 January 2006 [On Mozart's Skull].

'Wordsworth's Foreign Affairs,' The Guardian, 28 January 2006 [On Wordsworth's French mistress].

'100 Years Too Late,' The Guardian, 4 February 2006 [On the autobiography of Colley Cibber].

'Inspirational Rogues,' The Guardian, 11 February 2006 [On buccaneer biography].

'The Mores of Buccaneers,' The Guardian, 18 February 2006 [On some curious facts about pirates].

'Sailing By,' The Guardian, 25 February 2006 [On sex slavery on the high seas].

'The Pretty Cabin Boy,' The Guardian, 4 March 2006 [On women in war].

'Voyages into the Unknown,' The Guardian, 11 March 2006 [On the published legacies of the early explorers].

'Mozart's Vienna,' The Guardian, 18 March 2006 [On Mozart, composing and coupling].

'Portraits of the Artist,' The Guardian, 25 March 2006 [On the first artist's autobiography -- by the great Florentine sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti].

'Lesson from History', The Guardian, 1 April 2006 [On the first edition of Johnson's Lives for a century].

'Marginal Benefit', The Guardian, 8 April 2006 [On Michelangelo, music and mattresses].

'Pontormo, the Great Painter of Florentine Mannerism', The Guardian, 15 April 2006 [On the diary of Pontormo, the great painter of Florentine Mannerism].

'Founded on Pilchards', The Guardian, 22 April 2006 [On the founder of the Bodleian Library].

'Matters of Love', The Guardian, 29 April 2006 [On the dangers for Elizabethan poet-songwriters].

'All at Sea', The Guardian, 6 May 2006 [An unsparing account of brutality on the high seas].

'Lives of the Sinners', The Guardian, 13 May 2006 [On the confessions of Abelard].

'Runaway Success', The Guardian, 20 May 2006 [On Frederick Douglass's inspirational slave narrative].

'Schools of Knox', The Guardian, 27 May 2006 [On the Knox brothers].

'In My Good Books', The Guardian, 3 June 2006 [On the first use of autobiography as a weapon -- by a slave].

'Guilty Confessions', The Guardian, 10 June 2006.[On medieval sex and sin].

'In My Good Books', The Guardian, 17 June 2006 [On James Shapiro's 1599: A year in the Life of William Shakespeare].

In My Good Books, The Guardian, 24 June 2006 [On the Life of Olaudah Equiano].

In My Good Books, The Guardian, 1 July 2006 [On the memoirs of Edward Gibbon].

'Confessions of Insecurity', The Guardian, 8 July 2006 [On the sins of Saint Augustine].

'Mother Knows Best', The Guardian, 15 July 2006 [On Saint Augustine and his mother].

'Words Worthy of Peasants', The Guardian, 22 July 2006 [On an oblique view of Wordsworth].

'Read My Lips', The Guardian, 29 July 2006 [On the question: Were the ancients in the habit of reading silently, or did they normally read out loud?].

'Renaissance Boy', The Guardian, 5 August 2006 [On a Swiss body-snatcher].

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