- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (11 Oct. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 033051783X
- ISBN-13: 978-0330517836
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.9 x 24.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, tragedy and murder in Georgian London Hardcover – 11 Oct 2012
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'Kelly's perceptive wit, and interest in his densely theatrical material, makes him an ideal biographer for this pint-size peacock . . . Foote's imprint deserved uncovering.' Sunday Telegraph
'[In this] uproarious account of Foote's career . . . Kelly handles theatrical rumour and apocrypha with great care' Guardian
'Ian Kelly, an actor and writer, has found a perfect subject in this larger-than-life theatrical phenomenon . . . [he] is a charming and knowledgeable guide' Literary Review
'Ian Kelly's splendid biography . . . [is a] thrilling piece of literary archeology' Scotsman
'I thought this was an exceptionally entertaining book about an extraordinary man. Foote was clearly an extraordinary character even by the standards of Georgian London and one cannot help but feel that if he had not actually existed it would have been necessary to invent him. Kelly gives us a vivid and graphic portrayal of this one-legged satirical genius and the dangerous and compelling world that he inhabited, from the court to debtors' gaol. Highly recommended.'
Catharine Arnold, author of Bedlam: London and its Mad
‘Dazzling . . . Kelly is a master at recreating atmosphere and making the reader feel he is living alongside the book’s subject’ Daily Express
A tale of murder, comedy and tragedy: the riotous story of the one-legged superstar of Georgian London.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Samuel Foote was born probably in 1720 in Cornwall, the youngest of three boys in his family. His mother came from a well-to-do family of some lineage, but the family were for a very long time embroiled in court cases over inheritances and property. Sam's mother and her two brothers were no different, and Sam's first chance at some fame (or infamy) came in 1741 when one of his uncles was killed. The ensuing scandal and trial were utilised by Sam in writing of the events, and this helped him to get himself free of debtor's prison - the first time. Already, Sam's life was taking twists and turn unusual even in the rather rarefied atmosphere of Georgian London. Sam was clearly a character, and was well-known about town - friends with such as Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, David Garrick. His wit and gregarious nature seems, right from the start, to have won him friends and influenced people.
Foote's next foray towards fame and fortune took him on to the stage. From there, we follow Foote's often eccentric and even rather bizzare public and private life. Along the way, we read of the Georgian staff and theatre, of eighteenth century sexual proclivities and their reception amongst Society, and the horrors of eighteenth century amputations, amongst other items of wonder and delight. Foote's rise amongst the wits, his run in the theatre and amongst well-known Society, and his scandalous fall are laid out for the reader with frank openness. Sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, often sad, Foote's life seems to have been a most unusual one, even for his times. This book is well written, very engaging to read, and offers a glimpse into the type of life most of us would never have dreamed could have existed. Highly recommended.
The writing is thoughtful, demanding and sometimes very funny - see the story surrounding the death of the actor who became the most famous Drury Lane ghost. I recommend it wholeheartedly, with the simple caveat that due to the quality of the writing it is not a quick read.
There is, however, a certain roughness and repetition in the structure of the book which hardly detracts from its energy, but must be mentioned.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A superb read. Really brings 18th Century London to life. A must read for all budding theatre historians and a great story full of twists and turns for anyone else.Published 8 months ago by mr d e turner
A superb peek at a very interesting period that I frankly had known little about.Published 18 months ago by Mr R J Neilson
Ian Kelly marshals a vast amount of research into a delightful biography which is easy to read and gives a vivid sense of 18th-century life in London. Read morePublished 21 months ago by ELIZABETH NICHOLAS
I am a volunteer at Delaval Hall and the book helps me to impart a little more information to the many visitors who are intrigued with the history of the building and the people... Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2013 by John Seymour
The story of Samuel Foote is fascinating, and Ian Kelly has done a wonderful job in researching the story. Sadly the telling of it was stodgy and pedantic. Read morePublished on 22 Jun. 2013 by Dotsmate
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