Literary biography is an endlessly fascinating form, not least because of the fierce controversies that attend the question of how much of a writer's real life ought to be related to readers. Ian Hamilton, a first-rate biographer who encountering his share of adversity in writing the life of J.D. Salinger, is the perfect chronicler of such controversies in this brilliant study, first published in 1992, which charts the course of literary biography from Donne and Shakespeare to Plath and Larkin. "Such a compelling read". (Antonia Fraser, "Times"). "Lively and informative, powerfully and humorously written". (Anthony Burgess, "Observer"). "Surely the funniest book ever written on the doom-laden issue of posthumous literary fame". (Jonathan Keates, "Independent").