In Two Minds by Kate Bassett
Jonathan Miller: A Biography

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As Kate Bassett's thorough, well-upholstered new biography makes plain, Miller contains multitudes. More than perhaps even he is aware of.
-Guardian

Synopsis

In Two Minds... is the story of Jonathan Miller, one of post war Britain's most intriguing polymaths. Descended from immigrants who fled Tsarist anti-Semitism to become shopkeepers in Ireland and London's East End, Miller was born into an intellectual milieu, between Bloomsbury and Harley Street - the son of a novelist and a leading child psychiatrist. Miller trained as a doctor but then forged a career as a stellar comedian and as a world renowned theatre and opera director. He is a controversial humorist, public intellectual and TV personality. As a star in the ground breaking satirical revue Beyond the Fringe, he shot to fame alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. His expertise and interests encompass many areas, from medicine (he wrote and presented the hugely acclaimed BBC documentary series The Body in Question) to the history of art, Mozart, atheism and the nature of laughter. Jonathan Miller is one of the most multi-talented Britons of his generation, celebrated for his dazzling intelligence and anti-establishmentarian wit. This is the first comprehensive biography of him, written by leading arts journalist Kate Bassett (the Independent on Sunday). Drawing on in-depth interviews, it is an entertaining and illuminating portrait of a fascinatingly complex man.



‘I suppose it is true, my life does resemble a butterfly’s existence, moving around from one flower to the next. But, of course, butterflies do pollinate. There is a point to their activity. I hope there is to mine.’ Jonathan Miller


‘He was always my idea of an impossible Renaissance man … he has been a benign and hopeful presence in my life, and the life of my mind, from Cambridge until now.’
A.S. Byatt


‘He was groundbreaking, willing to take risks. His impact upon the opera world has been, without question, one of the most significant of any director in modern times…part of all the schools of thought whose developments we are now experiencing.’
Thomas Hampson


‘If he’d been born French, there would be streets named after him.’
John Fortune
 

About Kate Bassett

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Kate Bassett is the theatre critic for the Independent on Sunday and has previously worked in that capacity for both The Times and the Daily Telegraph. Other publications have included the Guardian, Time Out, the TLS and the New Statesman where she has written features and reviews on film, books, dance and comedy. She also teaches, gives platform talks and has served on various awards panels. She studied English at Cambridge University and Drama, as a postgraduate, at King's College London and RADA.
 
Published October 1, 2014 by Oberon Books. 488 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for In Two Minds
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alexander Larman on Jan 06 2013

In Kate Bassett's absorbing, in-depth and erudite biography of Miller...he is shown to be someone who thrives on confounding expectations, even if the impression given is unflattering.

Read Full Review of In Two Minds: Jonathan Miller... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew Dickson on Dec 13 2012

As Kate Bassett's thorough, well-upholstered new biography makes plain, Miller contains multitudes. More than perhaps even he is aware of.

Read Full Review of In Two Minds: Jonathan Miller... | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by JOHN HEILPERN on Jul 25 2013

"In Two Minds," Ms. Bassett's extremely thorough, if at times a shade too admiring biography, makes clear that her likable, vulnerable subject is an egotist of neurotic necessity... His achievement is undeniable, as "In Two Minds" makes clear, and though his workaholic days are behind him, he reveals no signs of retirement.

Read Full Review of In Two Minds: Jonathan Miller... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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