Ross King on the art of history

Ideas

Ross King is one of the most popular historians Canada has ever produced. Yet originally, he wanted to be a novelist. And after researching his doctoral thesis on T. S. Eliot, he published his first book, which fictionalized the story of a castrato singer in 18th century London, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring painter. Then he became fascinated by Italian architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed and built the famous cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence. King says he discovered that it was more fun to write when you didn't need to "make up the facts." IDEAS host Paul Kennedy talks to the man who's also written non-fiction books about Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelli, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet, and about Canada's Group of Seven.

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