Monday, November 21, 2016

Theodore Wratislaw. Fragments of a Life






Theodore Wratislaw. Fragments of a Life by D. J. Sheppard. With this publication from Rivendale Press one of the last obvious biographical holes of the 1890s is finally plugged. Wratislaw was one of the few great names of the 90s still crying out for a full-length treatment. I haven't yet read the book so this can't be a review but there is a lot of buzz around the book and it's all good so I can't wait to get my teeth into it. If you can't wait either then you can buy it from Amazon.co.uk (NOT .com) or direct from Rivendale. Here is the blurb:


Theodore Wratislaw is one of the most biographically elusive figures of the ‘decadent’ 1890s. Though invariably named in accounts of the period, he remains a marginal figure, crowded out by more notorious contemporaries. When noticed, it is usually as an imposter who, whilst adopting the decadent – and, on occasion, homoerotic – pose in his poetry, lived the convention-bound life of a civil servant. The accusation of insincerity has stuck, and had a deleterious impact on the assessment of his work.

As the present volume reveals, however, the accusation is based on a mistaken view of his life. Contrary to John Betjeman’s assessment of the ‘buttoned up figure obviously longing to burst out of his narrow neatness,’ Wratislaw’s struggle was to maintain some semblance of bourgeois respectability rather than to escape it. Besides recurring mental illness, he experienced trials and tribulations in his private life on a scale to rival almost any of his peers included amongst Yeats’s ‘tragic generation.’

Hardback: 15.6 x 23.4 cm., 296 pp. 15 black and white illustrations

ISBN 978 1 904201 23 4
£40.00 / $50.00


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