Later Life of Lord Curzon of Kedleston - Aristocrat, Writer, Politician, StatesmanAn Experiment in Political Biography
|Author: ||Bennett, G.H.|
Lord Curzon was one of the most significant figures in British politics in the early 20th century. This book critically examines a comparatively neglected period of his life: the period 1906 to 1925. During this last phase of his life he struggled to rebuild his career and life after suffering the humiliation of resigning as Viceroy of India in 1905, and the death of his wife in 1906. So successful was this rehabilitation that by May 1923 he stood on the threshold of becoming Prime Minister. This study analyzes that rehabilitation, and examines various facets of his life in detail, including his roles as husband, father, aristocrat, member of the Conservative party, leader of the Government in the House of Lords, statesman and politician. It casts new light on his career as a writer. It offers a substantial revision of one of the most complex and intriguing figures in 20 th-century British politics. In addition, in trying to come to a new understanding about Curzon, it also seeks to make a contribution to the growing debate about how biography is written. The book engages with that debate, and by its innovative structure and approach offers a way forward for the development of political biography.
"Drs. Bennett and Gibson are to be congratulated on a well-crafted and perceptive study of the later life and career of one of modern Britain's most enigmatic politicians; a work that not only enhances our understanding of Lord Curzon but also stimulates discussion about the nature and purpose of biography." – Kevin Jeffreys
"A balanced and illuminating book which is persuasively written; it offers us a thoughtful and complex portrait of its subject." – Mary Brewer
"Written in an open and accessible style, Bennett and Gibson combine thorough and persuasive historical research with some useful insights into the possibilities and limitations of contemporary biography. This book's composite structure, in which the same period of his life is traced and retraced from diverging and often incommensurable positions – Curzon as father, lover, aristocrat, world statesman – enables a conception of his personality as a complex intersection of desires and vicissitudes, achievements and disappointments. The Curzon who slowly appears in this book has a layered inconsistency which, although disturbing to his contemporaries, makes sense to a world now familiar with the notion that the self is irrecoverably split." – Laura Salisbury