October 10, 2007

The Rape of the Lock: The Novel

Well, I suppose it had to happen sometime. OK, it didn't, but it does sound sort of amusing:
Arabella is renowned as a great beauty, the prize of London. Meanwhile, her childhood friend, Robert Petre, is plotting against Queen Anne, although the revelation of his Jacobite affiliations could ruin his family and end his life. Reunited as adults, the two begin a torrid affair that could destroy her reputation and thus her chances of marriage. Despite being a Catholic, the charismatic Lord Petre can have his pick of London's women and so the affair is particularly ill-advised for Arabella; even for a catch like Miss Fermor, a proposal from Lord Petre would be a foolish thing to hope for, as his family would never permit the match.

Meanwhile, Arabella's cousins, the Blount sisters, come to London for the season, along with their great friend and admirer Alexander Pope. On the periphery of this glamorous and decadent set, successful but not yet celebrated, he watches the affair from its inception to its dramatic finale, events that ultimately inspired the poem that made his fortune. From the ashes of Miss Fermor's reputation rose the making of Alexander Pope's. (read the rest at The Guardian)

We're told that the author has "a PhD from Harvard in 'pollution, filth and satire in 18th-century London'"...

1 comment:

RfP said...

I had a mixed reaction to the book. It's a fascinating time period, but I enjoyed the book more as fictionalized history than as a novel. I'd prefer to see more of the historical and literary dimensions, and fewer of the rather bland social scenes and the stilted romance.