Acclaimed biographer Julia Markus has written an unprecedented and illuminating portrait of the brilliant, tortured, and controversial James Anthony Froude—the quintessential Victorian, father of modern biography, historian, diplomat, and prodigal son.
J. Anthony Froude expertly captures the roiling cultural history of a century through one man’s dynamic life. From his birth in 1818 to his death in 1894, J. Anthony Froude embodied the issues and complexities of his time. Through the story of his life, Markus elucidates the major ideological issues of the nineteenth century—sexuality, colonialism, and the widespread challenges to religion’s long-held cultural primacy.
In beautifully crafted prose, Markus reveals the compelling life of one of the most important thinkers of the Victorian age—the brutality of his early education, his troubled relationship with his father, his expulsion from Oxford, his dramatic and dazzling literary career, his delicious political incorrectness, his two marriages, his relationships with his children, his friendships with such disparate luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Cardinal Newman, his diplomatic work for Prime Minister Disraeli, and his complex relationship with Thomas Carlyle, his spiritual father and the subject of his most famous biography.
A. L. Rowse, historian and author, called Froude the “last great Victorian awaiting revival.” No life of the period is more poignant, no destiny more fascinating, than that of this man whom in his books and his actions reflected the triumphs and the errors of his society.
Julia Markus is the author of several books, including the award-winning novel Uncle and two previous biographies, Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning and Across an Untried Sea, which dealt with women of genius in the nineteenth century. She is professor of English and director of Creative Writing at Hofstra University.