When people attain a certain level of fame, their notable acts have been so exhaustively described and analysed that what we crave to know about them is the banal and everyday: what they might have in common with the rest of humanity, rather than what sets them apart. This is true of the Queen, for example. Much excitement is created by disclosures about what she has on her breakfast table, and the more normal her tastes, the greater the interest. This is even truer of Margaret Thatcher, not least because we already know as much as we need to about her political battles and legacy: not only were there volumes of her memoirs, but all her senior colleagues published their own accounts.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'But how do any of us please our mothers?': my review of Deborah Orr's memoir Motherwell is in the next @Lit_Review #deborahorr #motherwell @Leanne_O_
'The poem leads us, but no person takes us by the hand. It is not like Virgil or Homer, whose poems start with invocations to a muse.'
Michael Schmidt on the Epic of Gilgamesh.