Romantic Affinities

Rupert Christiansen, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-13310-7
In the age of Wordsworth and Byron, melancholy was rampant, and opium, a standard analgesic, was cheap, legal and widely available. It was a time when the new concept of romantic love defined women and men as free and equal partners. Feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, escaping from her hopeless passion for married painter Henry Fuseli, fled to Paris and published Vindication of the Rights of Women. Some years later, her 16-year-old daughter Mary gadded about Europe with Shelley; Frankenstein would make her the most widely read romantic writer of her day. This delightfully impressionistic group portrait also includes French poet Andre Chenier, scribbling verse while awaiting the guillotine; German poet Friedrich Holderlin, smashing his piano and succumbing to madness; Byron exulting in casual sex amidst marital breakup; and E.T.A. Hoffmann who probed the theme of double identity in his marvelous tales. Christiansen is the author of Prima Donna, a book about famous opera divas. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 00/00/0000
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-09-936711-6
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-1-84413-421-2
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