Gardners The name of John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester, is synonymous with excess. In this biography, Jeremy Lamb examines time the nature of Rochester's alcoholism and its implications for the man and his poetry.
Blackwell North Amer The name of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, is synonymous with excess. One of the brightest and most outrageous luminaries at the court of Charles II, he was to drink himself to death by the age of 33. Notorious libertine, certainly; he was also a genius. Rochester was a man of immense contradictions. His satirical works, notably 'A Satire against Reason and Mankind', show as much disgust with himself as with the society he moved in. Famous for the obscenity of his amorous poems, he also penned some of the most moving, witty and lyrical love poetry of all time. Here, for the first time, the nature of Rochester's alcoholism is examined, along with the implications it had for the man and his poetry. The man behind the illness is brought to life: a man riven by contradictions, by doubt and by disgust. What emerges from this brilliantly perceptive portrait is a profoundly unhappy genius who came to want no part of this world, or of himself. Lamb also rescues the man who blazed through his short life in glory and tragedy, genius and despair, and who is so little known today. Rochester is a truly forgotten figure in English history.