To coincide with the release of the film version of David Peace’s novel The Damned United, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has uploaded its entry on the charismatic football manager, Brian Clough. The film is an account of Clough’s disastrous 44 day reign at Leeds United in 1974 and the rivalry between him and the previous Leeds manager Don Revie.
If you are a keen football fan, you may also like to look up the following in the Dictionary of National Biography why don’t you consult the feature essay on the game’s pioneers? Or view the clickable British all-stars team? You can also download a free biography podcast episodes on Bobby Moore; the Busby Babes or read biographies of other managers, footballers and referees – from Billy Meredith to George Best.
There have been some other interesting additional entries to the ONDB which have been recently published as a supplement to the printed volumes. You will be able to look them up in the electronic version which the Library has had access to for over a year.
Between 2000-2004 a lot of famous writers died including the poets : Charles Causley, DJ Enright, David Gascoyne, Thom Gunn, Ian Hamilton, Elizabeth Jennings, Peter Redgrove; the novelists :Simon Raven and WG Sebald; the scholars and biographers : Ernst Gombrich, Christopher Hill, Roy Jenkins, Elizabeth Longford and Hugh Trevor-Roper.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is a scholarly reference work but you will find that its entries are full of lively anecdotes.
For example we learn that Kathleen Raine was a close friend Gavin Maxwell, the naturalist, who wrote the famous account of keeping an otter in “Ring of Bright Water”.
She outstayed her welcome so one night he banished her from his house at Sandaig in the Scottish Highlands. She wandered the surrounding countryside and then cursed him under a rowan tree. Following from this curse, his beloved otter was killed and his house burned down. Raine always felt responsible.
Hugh Trevor-Roper’s entry is an appreciation of a gifted historian with ” beautifully limpid prose” but also gives an interesting account of how he was duped by the Stuttgart conman, Konrad Kajau into believing that the forged Hitler diaries were genuine.
The ONDB Simon Raven biography tells of a novelist whose publisher, Antony Blond, had to pay him a retainer to live away from London – in Deal – so that he wasn’t distracted by the pleasures of life in the city. Raven is famous for his sequence of novels known as “Alms for Oblivion” described as ‘witty and scabrous’ which contain portrayals of many of his contemporaries including his friends, the former editor of ‘The Times’, William Rees-Mogg and the politician, James Prior.
Why not look up some of your favourite writers and public figures in the ONDB and be entertained and informed by some of entries of great quality?