Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse

Hermit of Peking The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse Hermit of Peking is one of the most remarkable pieces of literary detection of recent years It all began when Hugh Trevor Roper acquired the voluminous memoirs of Sir Edmund Backhouse uo till then kn

  • Title: Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse
  • Author: Hugh Trevor-Roper
  • ISBN: 9780140047769
  • Page: 303
  • Format: Paperback
  • Hermit of Peking is one of the most remarkable pieces of literary detection of recent years.It all began when Hugh Trevor Roper acquired the voluminous memoirs of Sir Edmund Backhouse, uo till then known only as a distinguished Chinese scholar who had lived quietly until his death in 1944.The memoirs depicted a very different person a man who said that he had been intimHermit of Peking is one of the most remarkable pieces of literary detection of recent years.It all began when Hugh Trevor Roper acquired the voluminous memoirs of Sir Edmund Backhouse, uo till then known only as a distinguished Chinese scholar who had lived quietly until his death in 1944.The memoirs depicted a very different person a man who said that he had been intimate with many nobles, from Lord Rosebery to Verlaine, and whose lovers had included the Dowager Empress of China In fact, they were so fantastic that the author felt obliged to discover all he could about the man who had written them and what he reveals here is the story of one of the most outrageous forgers, confidence tricksters and eccentrics of the century.

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      Published :2019-05-16T19:46:27+00:00

    About “Hugh Trevor-Roper”

    1. Hugh Trevor-Roper

      Hugh Trevor-Roper Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse book, this is one of the most wanted Hugh Trevor-Roper author readers around the world.

    154 thoughts on “Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse”

    1. I cannot for the life of me remember how this book ended up on my to read list years ago, but I wish I could thank whoever recommended it to me. The whole thing is a delight. It begins cautiously, with the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper recounting how he ended up with the memoirs of Sir Edmund Backhouse. He drops hints about their shocking contents, ominously mentions various subjects and persons that will be returned to, then begins his biography of Backhouse. There is a rapid sense of escalation, [...]


    2. This is a very strange tale, in which the noted historian pieces together in remarkable detail the life of an aristocratic fantasist who resided for many years in China.As a psychological investigation, the book is intriguing: Blackhouse left Oxford a bankrupt at the end of the nineteenth century, having wasted a fortune buying jewellery for actresses; in China he became a skilled translator, but his various fantasies drew in, and ultimately disappointed, the Bodleian (which was led to believe h [...]


    3. Such a fascinating research! Trevor-Roper teems with erudition and wit and wraps the matter conclusively, punctuating that ultimately Sir Edmund Backhouse despite his mendacity and frauds was but Our Man in Havana: simply drawing vacuum cleaners, pathetic and harmless.



    4. Cloaked under layers of seeming respectability, profound scholarship, and irresistible charm, Sir Edmund Backhouse's secret and fraudulent life went undetected for nearly thirty years until his outrageous and obscene memoirs fell into the hands of noted Oxbridge historian Hugh Trevor-Roper. Drawing upon business records, correspondence, memoranda, and Backhouse's own memoirs of life during the waning years of the Manchu dynasty, Trevor-Roper reveals the "Hermit of Peking"'s fantastic life of dec [...]


    5. What a rogue! I can never understand people who spend their time trying to fool others and in this case often for no real profit. It is especially difficult to understand Backhouse's motives when he was an acknowledged language wizard fluent in Mandarin, Russian, Mongolian and several other languages who spent much of his adult life in Beijing. You would think that his skills and contacts should have made him successful enough to have not needed to seek kudos from other schemes. The author has d [...]


    6. It' s my fault. Really it is. H. T.-R.'s writing is engaging and he keeps the narration moving. This just wasn't the biography I had hoped to read. I wanted more, much, much, more about how Backhouse lived during his years in China. Instead, this biography centers around Backhouse' dishonest business dealings, scandals relating to his published books, troubled relationships with family and friends and over-all flimsiness of character. Which will still make this interesting to many if Backhouse i [...]


    7. Highly recommended for any China buffs. Entertaining, precise detective work that systematically picks apart the facade of the cultivated hermit gentleman for the fabricator and trickster he was. Great history, great personal stories. I'd have given it five stars if the author hadn't been so negative about Backhouse's sexual proclivities.


    8. I seem to be adding all my history books, this may be because I keep them as my precious (no I don't have ebooks, don't ask).Anywho. If anyone tells you that things were better back whenjust hit them. Perhaps with this book. Clearly our betters were way crazier than we are. The scandle in this book would be front page news on every newspaper in the country. Nancy Grace would hang up her dancing shoes and want to know, "what the hell?" She would find a crime to charge this man with and then put h [...]


    9. I was keen to read this as Backhouse's family lived in a neighbouring village to the one where I grew up in North Yorkshire and my family used the bank owned by his father. I therefore found his early life and family background very interesting but there wasn't a lot of it.The black sheep of the family, EB was a gifted sinologist who virtually ran away to China where he led a strange life. Double dealing and forgery seem to have been his specialities, though masked in respectability and EB was f [...]


    10. Sir Edmund Backhouse Reclusive Westerner in early 20th-c. Peking. Scholar, historian, translator, patron of the artsdwellrger, con man, swindler, seller of non-existent battleships, faux-spy, debauchee, fantasist. Backhouse wrote widely-admired histories of the late-Manchu court and donated substantial numbers of Manchu-era manuscripts to his old college back in England. Only much of it was faked? Was anything real? He also concocted a brilliant posthumous plot to validate his own reputation, le [...]


    11. Read a review of this book, written in 1977, in the Wall Street Journal. A bit "heady" but fascinating. The true story of (Sir) Edmund Backhouse, an amazing confidence man. Born in England and lived mostly in Peking. He conned the pants off everyone and inserted himself through fantasy into the histories of many famous peoples' lives. Had to get it from the Balt. City libraryhard to find and not cheap to buy! Author is (was-now deceased) a respected historian.He had to do some SERIOUS digging to [...]


    12. This is a biography of Sir Edmund Backhouse, 2nd Baronet (1873-1944), Sinologist, forger, swindler and aspirant pornographer, the details of whose life are patchy, obscure and intriguing. Indeed, it was owing to his having written an extraordinary autobiography filled with world-historical, not to mention salacious, detail that historian Trevor-Roper was called upon as an advisor. Trevor-Roper's researches having exposed a pattern of fraud and fantasy, the autobiography was never published. This [...]


    13. Superb biography of a strange man, but not so strange when one considers the British expatriate, sophisticated with a devil-may-care regard to his and others' circumstances at a given time. Trevor-Roper actually uses Backhouse's experience as an entry into the arcane Chinese politics early in the 20th century. When reading about Backhouse, you get an eery feeling that if you sat down with him in his study, he might poison you for unspecified reasons.


    14. This book describes the life of an English eccentric who lives in Peking during the tumultuous events at the turn of the century. He invents diaries and sells them for lots of money. His imagination makes him well known as he writes books and sells weapons to nonexistent customers. The book is fairly entertaining, and it gives a good glimpse of life in China at this time.


    15. Apparently long out of print, but my stepdad tracked down a copy as a Christmas present, telling me it was one of his favorite books. I found it to be an excellently paced biography of an inscrutable man.


    16. An interesting, breezy read. Mainly about a very peculiar life, but some of the China backdrop seeps through as well. I didn't always care for the author's use of "we'll get to this later," but his voice -- present throughout the book -- eventually won me over.


    17. This is a must read for expatriates in China. Though it was en vogue when it was published, it seems to have nearly disappeared. Trevor-Roper does an amazing job of reconstructing the life of this enigmatic man.





    18. This should have been fascinating, but I was so bored I thought it might have been written as some sort of inside joke.


    19. Really good, though it begs the 'Quest for Corvo' comparison and Trevor-Roper wasn't quite the writer that A.J.A. Symons was, nor was Backhouse quite Corvo.



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