Francis King

A Guilesome Girl

Mistress of the Elgin Marbles: A Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin

By

Wiley 294pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Among the three recommendations on the back of the jacket of this biography is one from Christopher Hitchens, himself the author of a provocative and lively book on the Elgin Marbles. Susan Nagel, he writes, has brought off the feat of ‘showing again that behind the most ginger guy there is a guilesome girl’. The uncharacteristically slangy phrasing of the compliment suggests, rightly as it turns out, that here is a book not so much for the serious student of history as for the devotee of historical novels.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,
    • Today is the first today of the – they've got some excellent events coming up over the next two weeks.… ,