Ending 2013 and looking forward to a big 2014…

Apologies, anyone who still reads this, for the lack of updates this year. As hinted at in a previous post, I’ve been hard at working writing a biography of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl Of Rochester, for Head of Zeus books. I finished the book earlier this year but edits and introductions and what-have-you have taken their time. However, we now have a book that I’m extremely pleased with in every regard; it’s been a pleasure to write it, and I hope that it’s rather different both to earlier biographies of Rochester and some of the fustier works about Great Writers that throng the shelves. It’s due to be published in July 2014, and I look forward to keeping you updated about any activity taking place around its appearance.

I’m currently writing the follow-up, 1666, which is a shorter work that HofZ are going to be bringing out in 2015 as part of a series of ‘Year In England’ books, so if you wanted to find out what the cures for syphilis were, which jail was known as ‘Hell’ on account of its squalor or what Charles II’s favourite food was, all shall be revealed.

I shall see you all next year, with many surprises in store. Until then, one more Rochester anecdote:

Charles was, by and large, open-minded when it came to personal comments made about him. He regarded it as sport, one that he was as complicit in as his favourites, and he took pride in coming back with a well-timed riposte. One night, at dinner, Rochester was asked to provide an extempore poem about Charles, and he replied, perhaps after a glass of wine, with the following:

‘God bless our good and gracious King,
Whose promise none relies on;
Who never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.’

Charles, taking the sally in good spirit, answered ‘That’s true; for my words are mine, while my actions are those of my ministers.’