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A Profane Wit: The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
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A Profane Wit: The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  41 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Of the glittering, licentious court around King Charles II, John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, was the most notorious. Simultaneously admired and vilified, he personified the rake-hell. Libertine, profane, promiscuous, he shocked his pious contemporaries with his doubts about religion and his blunt verses that dealt with sex or vicious satiric assaults on the high ...more
Hardcover, 478 pages
Published December 2nd 2004 by University of Rochester Press (first published January 11th 2004)
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Roman Clodia
Jun 25, 2016 Roman Clodia rated it really liked it
Rochester has been ill-served by biographers to date so this is a welcome scholarly life which places John Wilmot at the centre of Restoration culture and mores. Johnson `reads' Rochester's life from a range of primary sources, and is particularly good at drawing a convincing narrative from the various letters which circulated between Rochester and his wife, and his libertine friends.

This isn't perfect and depends on some rather old-fashioned frameworks: Freudian readings, for example, that posi
...more
Elizabeth Moore
Feb 23, 2014 Elizabeth Moore rated it really liked it
I'll be honest, here: I LIKE boys. By 'boys,' however, I truly mean 'men,' so let there be no misunderstanding, but sometimes I prefer to refer to the bad ones as 'boys' as in the old standby, "bad boys." There is something about bad boys that redeems them, and in spite of everything bad about the subject of James William Johnson's biography of the Earl of Rochester, there is good, too.

This was a case of movie-sparks-an-interest-in-true-story, and after catching Johnny Depp's performance in The
...more
Shelley
Rochester was a rake, a douche, and an amazing wit. Because of the wit, it's possible to forgive his outlandish behavior. (Or...at least some of it.) I think of Rochester as the gateway drug that turned me on to Dryden.

This is very thorough scholarship, very well placed in history...and very dry. It took me ages to finish, because I kept putting it aside to read other books. It's a very useful biography, but not for the easily distracted, the faint of heart, or the Restoration dilettante, which
...more
Violet
Aug 27, 2011 Violet rated it it was amazing
A Genius pure and simple :) wilmot is the comedian with a conscience of the Early modern period :) If you ever have the wits to realise what the sub-text is ;)
Leah Hepner
Jul 09, 2009 Leah Hepner rated it liked it
The narrative and the facts are excellent, but a psychosexual approach is so antiquated that some of the insights are ridiculous
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