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This review is taken from PN Review 17, Volume 7 Number 3, January - February 1981.

TWO LIVES David Arkell, Looking for Laforgue, an informal biography (Carcanet) £6.95
Jeffrey L. Sammons, Heinrich Heine, a modern biography (Carcanet) £6.95

David Arkell's biography will send people back to Laforgue with fresh interest. The biography is an 'informal' one, as the author says. Mr. Arkell has ferreted around. It was he who discovered, in 1965, the identity of Laforgue's wife and among the many exhibits- in the way of photographs and drawings - in this volume are a photograph of Leah Lee, of her tombstone in the churchyard in Teignmouth, and a reproduction of an extract from The Teignmouth Gazette showing an advertisement for S. Lee's Paris Wove Corsets, for she was the daughter of a well-to-do draper in that town. The entry in the marriage register of the church of St. Barnabas - the same in which Eliot was married to Valerie Fletcher-and the faire-part announcing the marriage, are also reproduced. Mr. Arkell has been busy in Berlin and Baden-Baden, and there are pictures of Laforgue's apartment in Berlin, and photographs and other material illustrating the life of the Imperial Court in which he had a modest part. Mr. Arkell has been in close touch with those he describes as 'the noble quattuor of Frenchmen who are engaged, against all odds, in the brave venture of publishing everything that Laforgue ever wrote!' (Pierre-Olivier Walzer, Daniel Grojnowski, Pascal Pia and Jean-Louis Debauve), and this has enabled him to draw on some unpublished material. The book is, altogether, an enterprising piece of work, well produced and copiously illustrated not only with photographs but with reproductions of a large number of Laforgue's ...


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