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The Imaginary Autocrat: George Nash and the invention of Bath: Beau Nash and the Invention of Georgian Bath Hardcover – 26 May 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (26 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861973020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861973023
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 787,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


A compact, fact-filled and wonderfully readable book. (Judith Flanders Sunday Telegraph)

A supremely intelligent, witty and informative book that combines all the best aspects of new history writing with rare, old-fashioned elegance. (Claire Harman Telegraph)

Witty and engaging. (Nick Rennison BBC History)


This book is his biography. That so little is known about his early life is a tribute to his skill in inventing himself. We have to rely on the rich anecdotes about him - to a large extent the Nash of anecdote is the real man. Nash was born in 1674. He went up to Oxford but trouble with women soon took him down. Oxford was followed by the army or navy, and military life by the inns of Court, but his prime reputation was as a gambler. Then Bath's Master of Ceremonies was killed in a duel, and the Beau saw an opening. But how did this rackety adventurer become a leader of society who could turn away duchesses for being improperly dressed? When Nash came to Bath it was a small resort catering for the sick, when he died in mid century it was already the most beautiful city in the kingdom, to be visited by virtually every famous figure of Britain. How did this happen? These are the questions this highly original biography by a young cultural historian sets out to answer, set against the background of a dynamic and changing centre, which with its awareness of style, its consumerism and love of celebrity anticipated much of our modern world.

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8 customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

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7 November 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
2 March 2016
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2 March 2016
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