Diplomacy, Satire and Victorians
The Life and Writings of E. C. Grenville-Murray
Second edition (digital), revised 2018
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E. C. Grenville-Murray was a diplomat-journalist whose savage and inventive satires on British diplomacy gave impetus to the mid-Victorian movement for diplomatic reform and outstanding craftsmanship with the pen made him a legend in the press during that epoch. But since then he has been almost completely forgotten. This is partly because he made too many powerful enemies, with the result that his name was blackened and he was forced into permanent French exile; and partly because he wrote either pseudonymously or anonymously. This book, which rests on extensive use of private papers, official documents, press archives and not least Grenville-Murray’s vast output (including novels), is the first biography of this complex man to be written. It begins with the difficulties produced by his illegitimate birth, and then describes his patronage by Lord Palmerston and Charles Dickens, his colourful diplomatic career, and finally his blossoming as a successful writer in France in the 1870s.
Comments on the First edition
‘I can’t disembark at Southampton at the crack of dawn on Tuesday without telling you first what a boon companion your Grenville-Murray on my Kindle has been throughout the voyage and during rare moments of reading time in New York and Boston. … You tell the G-M tale brilliantly and it cries out to be made into a film. What a lively society it was then! Your account puts the Oscar Wilde affair nicely into perspective’ (Brian Barder, former ambassador and author of What Diplomats Do, QM2, 3 November, 2014).
‘Congratulations on your study of Murray. I’ve only just discovered him myself and I am so pleased there is a biography…. I’m reading the online version and enjoying it hugely. This superbly researched work is a model of the kind of study that is so badly needed to help provide the larger picture. There is too much writing on the well-known’ (Richard Grenville Clark, Apocalypse Press).
‘What an astonishing story: I sat up till half-past midnight last night finishing it. It is rare to find such a fund of real research contained in such a readable envelope’ (Robin Fairlie, sometime company managing director, marketing consultant, and author; now historian and collector of English verse epitaphs).