The life of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, was one short in duration but long on scandal. His misdeeds included the abduction of his future wife, regular banishment from the Restoration court and the creation of some of the most explicit verse in English literature. He died at syphilis, at the age of thirty-three, having ‘swived more whores more ways than Sodom’s walls’. He has been remembered by posterity as one of the wickedest men who ever lived.
This legendary libertine, however, co-exists with another Rochester, who has seldom received his due. A naval officer who served his country with courage; a devoted (if inconstant) husband and father; a witty and loyal friend; and a poet of deep intellectual curiosity at the heart of a cultural golden age.
Alexander Larman explores not only the life, legacy and contradictions of a remarkable and complex man, but also paints a vivid portrait of an era rich in literary achievement – as well as hard living and strong wine.
Blazing Star was awarded the 2012 Elizabeth Longford grant by the Society of Authors.
Alexander Larman is an author and journalist. After studying English at Oxford, from where he graduated with a First, he began a career that included work on titles such as the Observer, New Statesman and GQ, before he made the leap to being a full-time writer in 2012. Since then, he has published three books to date. His debut, Blazing Star, a biography of the decadent poet and courtier Lord Rochester, was published in 2014, to critical acclaim. It was followed by Restoration, a social and narrative history of the year 1666, and Byron’s Women, an ‘anti-biography’ of the f...
More about Alexander Larman