Thursday, 8 January 2009

Queen of the Wits

Rather enjoying Norma Clarke's Queen of the Wits: A Life of Laetitia Pilkington on the Irish poet and wit. Pilkington had very much in common with Mrs Cibber, who was also treated appallingly by her husband, though perhaps the person she resembles most is fellow Dubliner Mrs Woffington (whose fame around the early 1740s coincided with Pilkington's fall from grace and imprisonment for debt). Clarke has written an impeccably scholarly portrait that does strangely lacks sparkle in places, though her description of the Marshalsea - and of London in generally - is both chilling and very evocative.

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6 comments:

Barry said...

I am astonished and delighted to find a blog celebrating Peg Woffington.

What an excellent idea!

Mrs Woffington said...

Hello Barry; I think it's such a shame that Peg seems to have disappeared from view - there's not been a biography published on her since 1968, and even that is more like a fanciful novel than a proper Life. Thank you for visiting!

Laura said...

Let us know what you thought of the book when you've finished..i.e. to craftily see if it's worth my while buying it...

Mrs Woffington said...

Will do Laura - if you don't mind getting it second hand, Amazon is selling the hardback for as little as £1.14!

Lady Georgianna said...

Dear Peg, we bumped into some friends of yours today, Garrick and Johnson on their way to London!

Mrs Woffington said...

I know! We were wondering what the civic reception in Birmingham was going to involve; so glad to hear you had the honour of performing for the distinguished gentlemen :)