Amphibious Thing: The Adventures of a Georgian Rake

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9780140273649: Amphibious Thing: The Adventures of a Georgian Rake

Lord Hervey was one of the most controversial figures of the Georgian age. The consummate courtier - strikingly handsome, elegant and witty - he was both the favourite of the Queen and right-hand man to Walpole. Painted by Hogarth, satirized by Fielding and Pope, and confidant of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Hervey counted among his friends and enemies some of the most brilliant men and women of the age. Yet for all his hard-won public fame, there was a scandalous private side to Hervey. He was certainly a rake (rumour had it that he shared a mistress with the Prince of Wales), but such behaviour was quite normal among the 18th-century aristocracy. Less usual, however, was his ten-year affair with another man. From the outset, Hervey was fascinated by Stephen Fox. His engaging, delightfully witty letters reveal the depth of their passion for one another, and the lengths to which they were driven in order to escape detection. Finally, theirs became an "open secret", one of many factors that was to contribute to Hervey's downfall. In this biography, Lucy Moore brings to life an entire age, with its shimmering artifice and its poisonous deceit, its highly wrought melodrama and its grand passions.

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As vice chamberlain to George II, a favourite of the Queen and a loyal supporter of the prime minister, Lord Hervey was one of the most famous and influential aristocrats of the early 18th century. But behind the respectable public persona lay a disreputable private life. Scandalously for the time, Hervey had an almost open relationship with another man. Although publicly scorned and satirised (most famously by poet Alexander Pope), Hervey refused to retaliate; and retained a dignified and defiant silence. As a consequence, Hervey is remembered today as his detractors portrayed him over two-and-a-half centuries ago. Lucy Moore's Amphibious Thing sets about trying to readdress Hervey's negative press. By including extracts from private letters and two volumes of memoirs, Moore presents Hervey's posthumous defence. "They reveal a man more complex than the caricatures drawn up by his enemies, which are circumscribed by their topicality as well as their spite." According to Moore (author of the critically acclaimed The Thieves' Opera) Hervey's bisexuality just exemplified the ambiguity of his personality. "He hid behind a web of artifice and deception, of affectation and wit, never letting anyone get close enough to see his innermost self." Meticulously researched, Moore's book helps the reader to understand the make-up of an exceptionally modern man "who lived beyond the parameters of his age". An age Moore manages to recount so colourfully it is as if you were there. -- Christopher Kelly

About the Author:

Lucy Moore was born in 1970 and lives in Gloucestershire. She is the author of The Thieves' Opera and edited Con Men And Cutpurses.

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Moore, Mrs Lucy
Published by Penguin Group (Canada)
ISBN 10: 0140273646 ISBN 13: 9780140273649
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
M and N Media
(Acworth, GA, U.S.A.)

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