Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) is one of the great undiscovered geniuses of Victorian literature. His poetry expresses the religious doubt of the age as well as exposing its sexual hypocrisy. His life is packed full of relationships and encounters with some of the great names of the 19th century; Florence Nightingale, Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Cardinal Newman, Tennyson, the Arnolds and so on. Clough's early death at the age of 42, worn down, it is said, by working as a factotum for Nightingale, was widely seen as a personal tragedy of unfulfilled promise. Now Kenny, the distinguished philosopher and former Master of Balliol College, Oxford, proposes to write three first major biography of Clough in thirty years. It is a task that has attracted others- Claire Tomalin for example- but Kenny is supremely qualified to do so. Not only is he already the editor of Clough's diaries, he has unrivalled insights into the world that contributed to Clough's tortured existence and has a lifelong knowledge of Clough's work. Additionally, Kenny has access to letters and other papers at Balliol, which have never been used by any biographer. In Kenny's biography, Clough will be re-established as one of the great Victorian poets (a judgement shared by Christopher Ricks in his 1987 Oxford Book of Victorian Verse) and also a significant personality of the Victorian stage.
"'...Kenny has been thinking about Clough for over a quarter of a century, and it shows...warmly sympathetic but not uncritical portrait of a complex character whose sensibility can without blather be described as edgily modern.' Rupert Christiansen, The Spectator 'This is a very good critical biography, and an admirable picture of the intellectual world of early Victorianism.' Allan Massie, Literary Review '...This sad tale has now been told with great skill and delicacy by Anthony Kenny.' Paul Johnson, The Spectator"