Of the glittering, licentious court around King Charles II, John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, was the most notorious. Simultaneously admired and vilified, he personified the rake-hell. Libertine, profane, promiscuous, he shocked his pious contemporaries with his doubts about religion and his blunt verses that dealt with sex or vicious satiric assaults on the high and mighty of the court. This account of Rochester and his times provides the facts behind his legendary reputation as a rake and his deathbed repentance. However, it also demonstrates that he was a loving if unfaithful husband, a devoted father, a loyal friend, a serious scholar, a social critic, and an aspiring patriot.
An Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Rochester, James William Johnson is the author or editor of nine books and many articles treating British and American Literature.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 478
Weight: 856 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
Johnson (Emer., University of Rochester) wrote this generous biography -- a veritable progress of a rake's rake -- with enthusiasm and engaged fascination with Rochester (1647-1680) . . . Johnson's forte, in addition to the extensiveness of his information, is his strong narrative sweep: this is an exciting biography. Highly Recommended. CHOICE
Within the last five years there have been two other new biographies of the poet and courtier, both oriented towards a more general reader than is implied here. However, any reader would be advised to choose Johnson's as the most authoritative account to date. . . . An additional strength of this biography is the way in which it uncovers so much more than an individual life. Interwoven with Rochester's fortunes are those of King and country, court and parliament and a huge array of other personalities. ENGLISH: THE JOURNAL OF THE ENGLISH ASSOCIATION
A life of Rochester could not be better done. It is a biography not only for the scholar, replete with footnotes, references and bibliography, but also for the reader, being written in an easy style with learning lightly worn. . . A fine biography unlikely to be bettered in the foreseeable future. THE PRESS (New Zealand)