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Perdita Hardcover – 1 Feb 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (1 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593052080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593052082
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,461,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

After leaving Oxford, Sarah Gristwood worked as a journalist specializing in the arts and women's issues. She is a regular contributor to The Times, Guardian, Independent and the Evening Standard. Arbella, her historical biography of Arbella Stuart, was widely acclaimed in hardcover, and is available as a Bantam paperback. Her forthcoming anthology of women's diaries through the ages will also be published in paperback by Bantam Books in 2006.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 1 Aug. 2008
During am exposition of works by by Thomas Gainsborough I saw portrait of Mary Robinson known as Peridta. She sits in a mossy bower, on an earth ledge, alone except for her loyal Pomeranian dog. In her hand she holds a locket, opened to reveal the blurred face of George, Prince of Wales, who commissioned Thomas Gainsborough's portrait of his lover in 1781. And yet by the time George commissioned Gainsborough to paint her portrait, the affair was over.

I wanted to know more about this woman who was one of the self-invented individuals who made 18th-century Britain such an effervescent, commercial, cynical, corrupt, celebrity-conscious and shallow, competitive place. Mary had three talents - for poetry, acting and sex.

She was an actress (not a decent profession at the time) who was nicknamed Perdita after her performance in Florizel and Perdita (Garrick's adaptation of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale). It brought brought her both public notoriety and the attentions of the Prince of Wales. With her new social prominence, Robinson became a trend-setter in London.

After her relationship with the Prince of Wales ended, Mary Robinson attempted to blackmail the Crown by threatening to make public the letters the Prince wrote to her during their affair. She was after the 20,000 pounds the Prince had promised her before he came of age. Able to obtain only a small annuity that was sporadically paid. Next to her love affiars Mary Robinson became distinguished for her poetry and was called "the English Sappho." In addition to poems, she wrote six novels, two plays, a feminist treatise, and an autobiographical manuscript that was incomplete at the time of her death.
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By Storyteller on 20 Feb. 2013
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Comprehensive biography including the history of England during the lifetime of Perdita. A story well told and I look forward to reading more books by Sarah Gristwood.
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