Synopses & Reviews
On December 28, 1817, the eccentric painter B. R. Haydon gave a famous dinner party in his painting room in London. He invited, among others, three of the greatest literary lights of the age: the poets John Keats and William Wordsworth and the essayist and wit Charles Lamb. Over the course of a long winter evening of delights, the guests recited poetry, indulged in high-minded conversation, and took part in ridiculous antics, with such displays of brilliance and wit that the party came to be known as the Immortal Dinner. Penelope Hughes-Hallett celebrates this unique gathering by vividly bringing to life these illustrious diners against a backdrop of social change. Literary London society was at its extraordinarily gifted best just two years after Waterloo: the Elgin Marbles controversy still raged; Mrs. Siddons performed Lady Macbeth in her drawing room to a distinguished audience; Joseph Ritchie, a young physician and would-be poet, prepared to explore the River Niger with a copy of Keats in his pocket. The Immortal Dinner offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives and thoughts of this literary elite at a turning point in English society. It recaptures these rare spirits, using a great many of their own words from letters and diaries. With 75 black-and-white illustrations and 2 maps.
In 1817 the eccentric history painter B.R. Haydon gave a famous dinner party. The occasion was significant as an encounter between the first and second generations of the Romantic poets, and it provides a vivid and fascinating glimpse into the lives and thoughts of this particular group at a crucial turning point in English society.