Marguerite, Countess of Blessington: The Turbulent Life of a Salonniere and Author

Marguerite, Countess of Blessington: The Turbulent Life of a Salonniere and Author

by Susan Matoff

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Overview

This new biography of Lady Blessington, the first in more than eighty years, illuminates the private and public life of this important but neglected salonnière and author. This study enriches our knowledge of the social, political, and literary history of the post-Romantic and early Victorian era. It examines Lady Blessington's close friendships with politicians and writers, especially Edward Bulwer Lytton and Benjamin Disraeli. Statesmen, diplomats, writers, and artists were her constant visitors, as they found her friendship and conversation invaluable to their professional and social lives. The circumstances of a life lived in luxury and indulgence changed upon the death of Lady Blessington's husband, forcing her to support herself and several dependents with her writing. Throughout this biography, Lady Blessington's voice is evident and should reawaken scholarly and popular interest in her voluminous works. She wrote twenty novels in genres including silver-fork fiction, psychological drama, and verse narrative. She also produced four travel books, many short stories, and numerous poems and edited the popular literary gift annuals Heath's Book of Beauty and The Keepsake. This book reveals the humanity of a woman whom contemporary gossip considered scandalous because of her alleged relationship with her stepdaughter's estranged husband, Count D'Orsay. Lady Blessington's struggle in the face of many challenges is an inspiring story of individual strength. It is a tale of a woman whose legacy of integrity, determination, and sheer hard work provides us with enlarged insights into an era and society often overlooked by history.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611495911
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Publication date: 12/30/2015
Pages: 388
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.43(h) x 1.31(d)

About the Author

Susan Matoff is an independent scholar.

Table of Contents

Dedication
Epigraph
Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
Abbreviations
Preface
Prologue
Part I: 1788-1830
Chapter 1 The Transformation
Chapter 2 Early Married Life
Chapter 3 Direction Genoa
Chapter 4 Idling In Naples
Chapter 5 Friendship, Scandal and Farewell
Chapter 6 Paris: The End of the Beginning
Chapter 7 Recovery and Revolution
Part II: 1831 - 1839
Chapter 8 A New Beginning in London
Chapter 9 Launching into Literature
Chapter 10 Adding an Annual
Chapter 11 1834, The Year of Literary Lions
Chapter 12 Last Days in Seamore Place
Chapter 13 Gore House
Chapter 14 Confessions and Victims
Chapter 15 Struggling On
Part III: 1840 And Later
Chapter 16 On the Edge of the Slope
Chapter 17 Fighting Back
Chapter 18 Still Fighting
Chapter 19 Sliding Down
Chapter 20 Finale
Chapter 21 After Effects
Chapter 22 Presumptions of Posterity
Appendix I Books by Lady Blessington
Appendix II Contributions by Lady Blessington to Annuals and Periodicals
Bibliography
About the Author
Index

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