Covers Salt's conventional youth and conversion to vegetarianism, socialism, and other 'isms', his place as a British man of letters, his interest in the ideas of Thoreau, and friendships with Shaw, Gandhi, and other writers. Hendrick gives a clear, concise treatment of the intellectual life and work as social and literary critic of a figure who may be considered unique in his commitment to humanitarian goals. The book includes extensive quotations.
Winsten borrowed Salt's papers from Mrs Catherine Salt and then did not return them. Winsten, then, had unique material - and was a friend of Shaw's and was able to get information from that source - but did not date the letters or events and at times he invents dialogue. According to Shaw, Winsten as a biographer "is inaccurate as to facts, wrong in his judgements, self-complacent and without humour..."
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This selection offers insights into Henry Salt, whose thinking was so far ahead of his generation, the biographer and critic whose essays and books were highly influential and the poet whose wit and perception could "turn a rhyme and overturn a fool". This anthology includes his writings on animals' rights, vegetarianism, socialism, conservation, Shelley, Thoreau, De Quincey, as well as Edward Carpenter, Mahatma Gandhi and George Bernard Shaw to name a few.