Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire


By (author) Amanda Foreman

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  • Publisher: HarperPerennial
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 149mm x 214mm x 19mm | 420g
  • Publication date: 7 June 1999
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0006550169
  • ISBN 13: 9780006550167
  • Illustrations note: 32 b/w, 16 col plates (24pp), With index
  • Sales rank: 69,585

Product description

Sex, intrigue and adultery in the world of high politics and huge wealth in late eighteenth-century England. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was one of the most flamboyant and influential women of the eighteenth century. The great-great-great-great aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, she was variously a compulsive gambler, a political savante and operator of the highest order, a drug addict, an adulteress and the darling of the common people. This authoritative, utterly absorbing book presents a mesmerizing picture of a fascinating world of political and sexual intrigues, grand houses, huge parties, glamour and great wealth - always on the edge of being squandered by the excesses and scandals of individuals.

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Author information

Amanda Foreman was born in London in 1968. She was educated at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University in New York, before receiving her doctorate in 18th Century British History from Oxford University. She is married with five children. Since 2005 she has a been a Visiting Fellow at Queen Mary College, London University.

Review quote

'Mesmerizing' Antonia Fraser, Literary Review 'Well-written, extensively researched and highly readable... Gripping' Stella Tillyard, Mail on Sunday 'An outstanding debut by a young biographer fully in control of her sources, and with an easy and elegant writing style' Roy Strong, Sunday Times

Editorial reviews

On 8 May 1777 crowds of theatregoers could have been seen pouring into Drury Lane for the first night of R B Sheridan's new play, The School for Scandal. Among them was Georgiana Spencer, the first Earl of Spencer's 19-year-old daughter, who had married the rich Duke of Devonshire some three years before. 'When she appeared,' a French diplomat wrote of her, 'every eye was turned towards her; when absent, she was the subject of universal conversation.' She was also, in her own words, 'giddy and vain' and amusing, wildly extravagant and utterly captivating. She numbered among her close friends Sheridan, Charles James Fox, the Prince Regent, her husband's mistress Lady Elizabeth Foster, and the future prime minister, Charles Grey, by whom she had a daughter. An opponent of Pitt's administration, she canvassed vigorously on behalf of the Whigs. Yet even such a Tory as Samuel Johnson was captivated by Georgiana's charms and was more than content to have the Duchess 'hanging on his sentences and contending for the nearest place to his chair'. To this delightful woman Foreman does full justice in a highly enjoyable book - as entertaining as it is scholarly. Review by Christopher Hibbert Editor's note: Christopher Hibbert is a historian and author of Nelson: A Personal History, George IV, The Virgin Queen: The Personal History of Elizabeth I, The French Revolution and Africa Explored. (Kirkus UK)