IN DEFENCE OF EMMA. ‘SCHEMING ADVENTURESS’ OR ‘RADIANT PRESENCE’ ?

Robinson, Sylvia K.


£25.00




Privately Printed, (Romsey), 1st.ed., 2016. Xiii + 498 pp., 16 plates (chiefly cold.) D.j., 24 x 16cm. MINT. Signed by the Author. Emma, Lady Hamilton, has to be one of the most maligned and misunderstood women in history. For all her faults – and she had many – she did not warrant the number of malicious falsehoods and deliberate lies that surrounded her in her day and have been repeated by biographers ever since. In this painstaking new study, the author sets to work to examine the allegations laid at Lady Hamilton’s door, and to redress the balance on Emma’s damaged reputation. Her beauty is without question – although this faded in her later years ; her achievements and her talents have been largely overshadowed – for which she herself is partly to blame ; and her behaviour as a mother leaves much to be desired. But Emma was used and exploited by men who should have protected her ; she valiantly fought her way up from obscurity in a Welsh village to the grand court of Queen Maria Carolina in Naples. Along the way she took Sir William Hamilton as her husband, and brought him comfort and companionship in old age ; and Admiral Horatio Nelson as her lover, and brought him excitement with her sexuality – and to the edge of professional ruin with his obsessional devotion to her. From these dizzy heights, Emma spiralled ever downwards after Trafalgar to end her days in dire poverty and a neglected and lost grave in Calais. The author examines letters, wills, bank accounts and other manuscripts in order to get to the truth and to paint a more reasonable picture of one of the most fascinating women in history. It is a romantic story ; a fairy-tale story ; a tragic story both in wasted accomplishments and in final outcome, but at last, in this book, Emma Hamilton has found a champion to tell her story. Highly recommended. SIGNED COPY.


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