Adrian Tinniswood

Imperfect Enjoyment

Blazing Star: The Life and Times of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

By

Head of Zeus 387pp £25 order from our bookshop

It is hard to love John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester: hard to make a hero out of a writer of obscene verse, a coward and a drunk who, in the course of his short life, betrayed everyone around him – wife, family, friends, mistresses. But the fact that, in Samuel Johnson’s words, ‘he lived worthless and useless, and blazed out his youth and his health in lavish voluptuousness’ does make for a great story. Alexander Larman’s Blazing Star, billed by his publisher as ‘the first truly comprehensive biography of Rochester’, has a fair stab at telling it. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Jane Ridley writes on Who’s In, Who’s Out: The Journals of Kenneth Rose, edited by D R Thorpe ,
    • 'Lucian Freud was never short of confidence. In the 1990s he painted a small head of an especially rich individual… ,
    • Robin Simon's review of Lucian Freud, edited by Martin Gayford and David Dawson ,
    • 'Lenin regularly communicated with his agents in Russia by postcard and Stalin sent girlfriends cards depicting ero… ,
    • RT : Could any book publishing people share with me their route into publishing roles for a sixth former I am working wi… ,
    • Donald Rayfield reviews Greetings From the Barricades: Revolutionary Postcards in Imperial Russia by Tobie Maythew ,
    • 'Citadel of the Saxons manages to turn the slim pickings of the surviving evidence into something like a consistent… ,