Books on John Wilmot

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Jackslady
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Books on John Wilmot

Unread postby Jackslady » Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:28 pm

A couple of days ago I was on amazon UK searching for books on our favourite earl. I noticed that amazon's listing for Rochester has gone from some 80 items, down to about 30. Some books, which I purchased a while back, are currently not available.

They still have a good selection of biographies. I just wanted to let anyone know who might be interested - if you're looking for something on Rochester I would go for it now. The interest generated by the film has obviously died down and they are reducing their stocks accordingly. I can't vouch for amazon.com as I haven't been over there in a while.
"Easy on the goods darlin!"

"Tis not an easy thing to be entirely happy, but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness" - John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:49 pm

Recomendations would be good :cool:

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Unread postby Endora » Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:19 pm

Jackslady, I know that you have read very widely about Wilmot and would like to hear which book you would choose if you had to show his life in its social and political context. I mean not necessarily lit crit which I feel ok with, but contextual, where I'm much much weaker. Suggestions please?
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:04 pm

Thank you for the heads up, Jacklady. :cool: We are looking forward to your recommendations!
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Unread postby miss kitty » Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:34 pm

In Italy I found only a John Wilmot book.
The title is "Rochester, poetry and satire".
It's a little book but I enjoy it very much.I,especially,love the satire.They are really shrewd and marvellously written.
I'm impressed by "A satyr against mankid"....

"Were I (who to my cost already am
One of those strange prodigious creatures man.)
A spirit free, to choose for my own share,
What case of flesh,and blood,I please'd to weare,
I'd be a dog,a monkey or a bear.
Or any thing but that vain animal,
Who is so proud of being rational."

I like this very much.

Naturally, in my book there's, also, the italian version and so I can understand better wilmot's poem.
Rochester was been an incredible artist,a great writer and he's still much modern today!!!
Sorry for my english,full of gaps....and near Wilmot lirics is so embarassing..... :blush:

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:12 pm

miss kitty, welcome to ONBC! :welcome: Please don't worry about your English, we understand you just fine! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Jackslady » Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:54 pm

Wow, recommendations! :-O OK, I'll do my best...

So Idle A Rogue - Jeremy Lamb

This is possibly the most well known and easily obtainable biography. It is currently available in paperback in most well known bookstores. It is a good general biography, and it takes a somewhat different line than the others, Lamb's take on Rochester being that it was alcoholism, rather than syphilis that was the cause of his death. JL has researched this matter in some detail. The opening chapter is evocative - the author visited High Lodge and gives a moving description of his visit.

The Satyr - Cephas Goldsworthy

This is the biography I enjoyed most - it moves along at a fair pace and the style is witty and incisive. It takes a fairly no holds barred look at Rochester's life and in some places this can make for a rather bawdy read! Goldsworthy's analysis is sharp and I think he captures Rochester (or how I imagine him to be) very well.

A Profane Wit - James William Johnson

This is my current read, a longer and more detailed biography than those above. JWJ goes into considerable detail on all aspects of Rochester's life. He includes a lengthy chapter on Rochester's travels in France and Italy as a young man, and the likely effect these experiences had upon his later life. The illustrations feature some less often seen portraits, such as one of Elizabeth Malet with a guitar. A detailed and fascinating book.

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester - Germaine Greer

This is a short biography of the earl, written for english students. Germaine writes with verve and clarity - this is a very good book to start with, as it includes all the basics of the earl's life and introduces his most significant writings. I don't recall the book contains any bad language either, so it is suitable for all.

Further research....

Rochester's Letters - Jeremy Treglown

This book contains a hearty selection of the earl's private correspondence...contrary to what might be expected, many of the letters have no erotic focus, but deal with matters domestic, money problems, concerns about horses, etc. Correspondence between John and his wife makes for touching reading and the book includes some of the letters he supposedly wrote to Elizabeth Barry. Treglown includes his own biography of Rochester at the beginning - this is an excellent read, with many interesting observations.

The Debt to Pleasure - John Adlard

This little book is a kind of scrapbook, featuring poems, quotations and extracts from the earl's letters. It is also the only book to include extracts from the infamous play featured in the film!

That Second Bottle - Essays on John Wilmot edited by Nicholas Fisher

This book took me over a year to read!! This is an academic work featuring essays by learned writers on all aspects of the earl's life and writing. This is not an easy read but I learned so much from it, I'm really glad I persevered. It is a book I would return to again and again. It also includes a very interesting chapter on the "monkey portrait" and goes into great detail concerning the hidden meanings in the earl's poems. There is also a chapter on the only play we know for certain was written by Rochester - Valentinian.

Rochester - The Critical Heritage, edited by David Farley-Hills

This is an interesting compilation featuring the opinions of others on the earl. Here can be found the full text to Gilbert Burnet's "Some Passages in the life of John Wilmot" which is freely quoted in most biographies. Some prologues written for the opening of Valentinian are also included - parts of which are spoken by Elizabeth Barry in the film at the very end.

Reading Rochester - edited by Edward Burns

This is another academic work focusing on a close analysis of the earl's poems...haven't read this one yet so can't give a full comment!

Spirit of Wit - Jeremy Treglown

I have unfortunately had problems obtaining this book, I'm currently waiting for it from amazon - every time I've ordered it there has been a problem. I think Itd has read it though - Itd, if you're around you could perhaps fill in this blank for me!

I hope this is helpful. One thing I have realised is that writers can differ quite markedly in their opinions and interpretations of Wilmot's life and work. It should also be noted that given the nature of the man, some of these books do contain explicit references to adult topics.

I've enjoyed reading all of them immensely and my research continues. If I can help anyone in any way, just let me know! :cool:
"Easy on the goods darlin!"



"Tis not an easy thing to be entirely happy, but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness" - John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester



**Special thanks to es for help with my lovely avatar**! !

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:37 pm

Most excellent recap, Jackslady. Thank you for all your help! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Jackslady » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:05 pm

You're welcome :cool: I think I did list some of the books I've read in a thread we had going a while back on ONBC..probably during the Libertine discussions last year, the thread is probably in the archives somewhere, think it might have been more detailed than this one but can't remember! :eyebrow:
"Easy on the goods darlin!"



"Tis not an easy thing to be entirely happy, but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness" - John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester



**Special thanks to es for help with my lovely avatar**! !

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:22 pm

Jackslady, I think you are correct about a previous thread. One of these days your moderators will get around to organizing things in there! :reader: It would be big help to all of us!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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