It’s disconcerting to come across someone you know in an unfamiliar context. You discover that your colleague in the bank is a part-time football hooligan (it happened to my sister’s friend), or the nice tenants in your rental property turn out to be members of Ananda Marga (it happened to me, at a time when the sect was allegedly responsible for various acts of political terrorism).
This happens with historical figures too. One of the endless fascinations of biography is the way that people keep breaking out of the boxes we put them in.
I’ve just been reading Wendy Moore’s biography of the Countess of Strathmore. In the way of many books today, the long title – Wedlock: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met his Match (2007) – gives you most of the plot. Continue reading