ART & LIFE: Michael Holroyd on Lytton Strachey (1880-1932)

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The Independent Culture
After the success of the first series of postcard biographies taken from the NPG's archives, this is a new series of specially commissioned 70-word biographies of and by major figures of today. This is the last in the current series

An early member of the Bloomsbury Group, Lytton Strachey gained fame in 1918 with Eminent Victorians, a brilliant attack on those 19th- century values he believed had led to the Great War. His Queen Victoria (1921) and Elizabeth and Essex (1928), which liberated biography for future experiments, used the devices of romantic fiction and psychological melodrama to smuggle the unorthodox personal relationships of his own life into Britain's national heritage.

Lytton Strachey by Simon Bussy, 1904 c Reserved. The NPG has produced a pack of 25 Art & Life pull-out postcards (pounds 5) featuring the best of the series, including Virginia Woolf on George Eliot and Terry Pratchett on Tolkein. Mail order 0171 306 0055 x280/fax 0171 306 0092. Add pounds 1 p& p for up to two packs, pounds 1.50 thereafter.