Published Jan 2010
Nine years after Stephen Spender’s death, John Sutherland offers the authorized life of this brilliant but famously enigmatic man.
Sutherland’s account ranges from the depiction of Spender’s cosmopolitan family (and the dominant influence of his archetypal Victorian father), via Oxford, to the breakaway years in 1930’s Weimar Germany, where his comrades in liberated exile were W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood. We follow him through the war as Britain’s most famous fireman to the postwar years of international celebrity.
A wonderfully lively read, with many never-before-seen photographs, this biography offers not just a full and revealing depiction of Spender but also the grounds for reassessing his contribution to twentieth-century life and letters in Britain and America. As well as being a colleague of Spender’s during the 1970’s, John Sutherland has had unhindered access to archive material and living witnesses to Spender’s career.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WHITBREAD BIOGRAPHY AWARD 2004