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Philip Guedalla Biography

(1889–1944), Supers and Supermen, Eminent Victorians, A Gallery, The Second Empire, Palmerston, The Duke

historical study

British historian and biographer, born in London, educated at Balliol College, Oxford. After he had repeatedly failed to become a Member of Parliament, Supers and Supermen (1920) established him as an author; its epigrammatically irreverent treatments of historical figures owed something to Strachey's Eminent Victorians (1918). Similar in approach, A Gallery (1924) surveyed contemporary literary reputations. The Second Empire (1922), a study of France under Napoleon III, was his first historical work of note; engagingly biographical and impressively scholarly, it set the pattern for Palmerston (1926); The Duke (1931), a study of Wellington; and The Queen and Mr Gladstone (two volumes, 1933). His talent for vivid historical narrative was at its best in The Hundred Years (1936), which encompassed the century following Victoria's accession. His writings in support of the Allied cause during the Second World War include Middle East 1940–1942: A Study in Air Power (1944). Among Guedalla's other works are the accounts of his visits to North and South America respectively contained in Conquistador (1927) and Argentine Tango (1932).

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