A biographer dreads…

A very successful biographer asked me how George Calderon died.  I replied that he disappeared in the smoke of battle.  ‘Ah,’ he said, ‘that’s lucky for you: you’ve got a clean ending, not long years of decline, dementia etc.’  As a technical observation, I suppose, that’s true.  But I have to say I’ve long dreaded reaching that ending.  I didn’t like Calderon much when I first encountered him thirty years ago, but over the last three years of researching and writing his biography I’ve got closer and closer to him.  I feel I understand him and deeply sympathise with him.  Knowing how his life ended before getting to it (in a way, before he knew) is depressing; of course I baulk at parting from him. Yet I know that the aftermath of his death is inspiring, and the thirty-five years by which Kittie survived him were filled with love and a kind of heroism. So actually there will be two chapters beyond Calderon’s death; the book itself will end in 1950.

Next Entry: A biographer worries…


About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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