Wainewright the Poisoner

Andrew Motion
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ISBN 9780571205462 Format Paperback
Published 19/02/2001 Length 336 pages

About Book

A dazzling and boldly original biography by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate and the celebrated biographer of Larkin and Keats. Thomas Griffiths Wainewright was an ingenious and unscrupulous criminal. In 1828 he inherited the handsome family home, while successive legacies allowed him to maintain a flamboyant lifestyle. Meanwhile, within the space of a few years, three of his relatives died in suspicious circumstances. Eventually tried and arrested, Wainewright was transported for life to Tasmania.

Yet he had lived at the centre of the Romantic world. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and painted Byron's portrait. He was good friends with Henry Fuseli, William Blake and Charles Lamb, and knew John Clare, William Hazlitt, Thomas de Quincey and John Keats. He was known as amiable, kind, and good-hearted. Combining the form of a 'confession' with notes, asides and illuminations, Wainewright the Poisoner strips away the layers of legend and restores Wainewright to his own voice, capturing his dandified style, his charm as well as his callousness, his wit as well as his wantonness - and his deadly unreliability.

  • About Andrew Motion

    Andrew Motion was UK Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009 and is co-founder of the online Poetry Archive. In 2015 he was appointed Homewood Professor in the Arts at Johns Hopkins University; he lives in Baltimore. Andrew Motion was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009. 

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