Portrait of George Borrow

A World of his Own by David Williams

David Williams (1909–1983) was an educator, broadcaster and novelist.  As well as this biography of George Borrow he wrote biographies on George Meredith and Arthur Hugh Clough.

The biography of Borrow looks at the contrasting aspects of Borrow:

. . . a uniquely strange creature ... writing books that were a wonderful and fascinating mixture of opposites: exotic, flamboyant, dreamlike—and in the same breath dry, argumentative, and harking back to the eighteenth century.

source: A World of his Own, David Williams, p. ix

The result of using contrasts is that Williams’ tends to question, without ever resolving, each event in Borrow’s life.  E.g.

Did it all happen, ... exactly as he said?  It is, of course, impossible to be categorical...

source: A World of his Own, David Williams, p. 36

Did Borrow know in advance what sort of shambles he was committing himself to?  . . . This exemplifies a strong and constant trait in Borrow’s character: his fondness for giving people the clearest possibly opportunity to misunderstand him

source: A World of his Own, David Williams, p. 89

The book is illustrated and includes portrait of Borrow, the life-mask, the photograph, a portrait of John Hasfeld, etc.

The book is now out of print so you might like to look at our out of print books page for suggestions on how to obtain a copy.

[BORROW, George]. WILLIAMS, David. A World of His Own. The Double Life of George Borrow. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.