The First Life of Leigh Hunt
A Pimlico Original and the first biography since 1930 of one of the most influential and charismatic figures in the political and cultural life of the 19th century.
Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) is the lost giant of English culture - the 'spiritual grandfather' of the modern world according to Virginia Woolf. Descended from black Caribbeans, Hunt was a child of the American and French Revolutions, determined to throw off the old order. As a poet and radical journalist, he was a passionate advocate of liberal causes and was jailed for his daring campaign against establishment corruption embodied by the Prince Regent. A complex and contradictory figure, Hunt enjoyed the role of political martyr and the homage of writers like Lord Byron while battling with psychic vulnerability and private phobias. Hunt's genius discovered poets like Keats, Shelley, and Tennyson, and his own sparklingly controversial poetry advocates the sexual freedom that characterised all his relationships. In the first full biography in over seventy years, Libertas brilliantly captures this fascinating man and his turbulent times.
“[Roe] has done what few academics have managed: to incorporate original new research into a volume written as much for the general reader as for the student”
“Those who wonder how a figure of such outstanding significance and influence can have inspired so little scholarship and received so little posthumous recognition will welcome Nicholas Roe's account of Leigh Hunt”
Times Higher Education Supplement