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In this 1952 publication T.H. White revisited the terrain of his earlier The Age of Scandal (1950) to once more explore various writings and doings in the lives of eighteenth century men and women of fashion who made themselves the sources of public sensation.
Each of White’s short chapters takes as its subject a different aspect of English high society from the time. The topics on offer include mistresses and duellists, great houses and public executions, press-gangs and highwaymen, bluestockings and crooked politicians. Among the figures White examines more closely are Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the volcanic Thomas Pitt, the transgendered French diplomat-spy the Chevalier d’Eon, and the dandy Beau Brummell, who put extraordinary efforts into seeming to be an indolent fop. Clear throughout is White’s infatuation with a historical epoch marked by wit, excess, style and ceremony.
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