Best-selling biographer Hermione Lee tells Jane Cornwell why her latest subject, Edith Wharton, was unfairly maligned.
From The Australian, May 10, 2008
Spring holidays in Oxford and the cloisters are quiet. The sun is shining on empty bicycle racks, on the birds that doze along the medieval city wall. A bumblebee buzzes idly about a neat green square, nuzzles the flowers next to the stone steps I'm sitting on. Yesterday it was raining; today the air feels fresh, even a little inspirational. "The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing," said the great American writer and wit Edith Wharton, who loved it here.The mood is broken when a tall woman in a brown trouser suit strides out of a doorway, court shoes clacking on stone paving.
Her haste is understandable: as Goldsmiths' professor of English literature and a fellow of New College, as well as a reviewer, broadcaster and the author of seven books, time is of the essence for Hermione Lee. Her next book is due before she takes up her new post as president of Cambridge University's Wolfson College. Her acclaimed biography of Wharton is just out in paperback.
This month, she's a guest at the Sydney Writers Festival and the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival.The full story here.