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Aubrey's brief lives

John Aubrey

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Summary

With deft, picturesque prose, Aubrey presents biographical sketches for an intriguing and colorful parade of statesmen, poets, philosophers, and scientists, including Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, and Rene Descartes, as well as a host of lesser known but equally fascinating figures. This anecdotal, gossipy collection brings to life the tumultuous world of Elizabethan and Stuart England and its revolutions in politics, science and morality. At the same time, Aubrey revels in the sheer variety of human nature and in the detailed, intimate, and sometimes scandalous aspects of his subjects' lives. An antiquarian, Aubrey began his collection as source material for his friend Anthony Wood's histories of Oxford University. In this new edition, more faithful to the original text than previous versions, Brief Lives emerges as a revolution in the art of English biography, a mixture of entertainment and erudition, and a lively portrait of an age.

Genre

Status

Biography poetry memoirs history

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