A Man of Genius

A Man of Genius

3.29 (51 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Strange and haunting, a gothic novel with a modern consciousness. --Philippa Gregory

A haunting, sophisticated story about a woman discovering the truth about herself and the elusive, possibly illusive, nature of genius. --Sunday Times

Mesmerizing, haunting, imbued with a complete sense of historical verisimilitude --Times Literary Supplement

A psychologically haunting and disturbing tale as full of mystery, exotic foreign places, and questions of parentage as any penned by her protagonist. --Library Journal

Thrilling and heartbreaking, a gothic novel with emotional heart and depth. --Foreword Reviews

A darkly mischievous novel about love, obsession and the burden of charisma, played out against the backdrop of Venice's watery, decadent glory. --Sarah Dunant

A mesmerizing story of love and obsession in nineteenth-century Venice: dark and utterly compelling. --Natasha Solomons

Set in bustling Regency England and decaying Venice, A Man of Genius portrays a psychological journey from safety into secrecy and obsession. After a troubled childhood, Ann achieves independence earning her living as an author of Gothic novels. Within a group of male writers, she meets and is enthralled by the supposed poetic genius, Robert James. They become uneasy lovers. Ann and Robert travel from London through a Europe exhausted by the Napoleonic Wars. They arrive in a Venice of spies and intrigue, where their relationship becomes tortuous and Robert descends into near madness. Forced to flee with a stranger, Ann delves into her past to be jolted by a series of revelations about her lover, her parentage, the stranger, and herself.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 27.94mm | 317.51g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1908524820
  • 9781908524829
  • 2,548,697

Review quote

Praise for Man of Genius:
" Mesmerizing, haunting, imbued with a complete sense of historical verisimilitude Times Literary Supplement
"This is a haunting, sophisticated story about a woman slowly discovering the truth about herself and the elusive, possibly illusive, nature of genius." Sunday Times-London

Todd has crafted a psychologically haunting and disturbing tale as full of mystery, exotic foreign places, and questions of parentage as any penned by her protagonist, whose journey back to understanding and shaky self-reliance (after a fortuitous rescue by a mysterious stranger) is almost antigothic in its conclusion. Devotees of Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho) and other authors of the gothic literary tradition will enjoy this atmospheric novel. -Library Journal
Foreword one of eight titles showcased in Debut Fiction ForeSight
"This book is recommended for readers who enjoy the twists and turns of a gothic novel with emotional heart and depth.Ann begins to discover more about not only Robert, but herself. It is this self-discovery, this uncovering of her own narrative, that finally pushes her into an independent role that is both thrilling and heartbreaking to witness." Foreword Reviews
"Todd s academic expertise on women writers and the Romantic period serves her well in this gripping, original historical novel with abundant thrills, spills and revelations. A powerful sense of atmosphere is conjured up through Todd s detailed descriptions, whether the setting is 1819 Regency London or Venice, while the vivid depiction of everyday life s ephemera, the racy dialogue and elaborate mannerisms, all sound and feel authentic."
The Lady
Strange and haunting, a gothic novel with a modern consciousness. Philippa Gregory
"A quirky, darkly mischievous novel about love, obsession and the burden of charisma, played out against the backdrop of Venice's watery, decadent glory." Sarah Dunant
A mesmerizing story of love and obsession in nineteenth century Venice: dark and utterly compelling."
Natasha Solomons
"Intriguing and entertaining; a clever, beguiling debut.Todd knows her Venice backwards."
Salley Vickers
Revealing, surprising, compelling, gripping. Miriam Margolyes, actress
A real knack for language with some jaw-droppingly luscious dialogue. I can see the author s pedigree in the story, style, and substance of the book. It seems like a wonderful sleeper: think The Elegance of the Hedgehog Geoffrey Jennings, Rainy Day Books
Tribune
Todd s academic expertise on women writers and the Romantic period serves her well in this gripping, original historical novel with abundant thrills, spills and revelations.
Ann (perhaps a nod to Ann Radcliffe), the independent-minded protagonist, is a writer of successful, melodramatic, populist Gothic novels featuring innocent women pursued by manipulative villains. She falls head over heels into an obsessive passion for narcissistic, Romantic idealist and poet Robert James (a cross between Shelley and Lord Byron). His self-acknowledged genius conceals the darkness of madness and violence, as she discovers in Venice. Forced to flee or be consumed by this destructive relationship, she makes major discoveries about her psychological and social identity, like the typical heroine of her own and others Gothic novels.
A powerful sense of atmosphere is conjured up through Todd s detailed descriptions, whether the setting is 1819 Regency London or Venice, while the vivid depiction of everyday life s ephemera, the racy dialogue and elaborate mannerisms, all sound and feel authentic.
Steve Barfield

Praise for Janet Todd
Todd has a good ear for tone and a deep understanding an astonishingly thorough book Emma Donoghue
A rip-roaring read, Michele Roberts, The Sunday Times
Genuinely original Antonia Fraser, The Times
Thorough and stimulating..clear readable prose.... a fascinating study of the public face of Behn, of its shifting masks and modes. Maureen Duffy, Literary Review
Todd is one of the foremost feminist literary historians writing in this country. She has devoted her literary career to recovering the lives and works of women writers overlooked and disparaged by generations of male literary scholars Times Literary Supplement
Intelligent and well-formed study Kirkus
Todd guides us with unfailing buoyancy and a wit all her own through the intricacies of Restoration theatre and politics...[Behn s] epitaph seems to suggest her wit is buried with her. Not at all; it is now wondrously resurrected, Michael Foot, Evening Standard
Janet Todd's brilliant biography ... weaves a story together with precision, verve and confidence Independent
Todd is an extraordinary researcher and sophisticated critic. This biography conjures a vivid sense of Wollstonecraft as a revolutionary and as a woman, and offers precise insights into the progress of one writer s life. Ruminator
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About Janet Todd

Janet Todd was born in Wales and had a wandering childhood in England, Scotland, Bermuda and Ceylon. She worked as an academic in Ghana, Puerto Rico, the US (University of Florida and Professor at Rutgers, NJ), Scotland and England. An Emerita Professor at the University of Aberdeen, until recently she was President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. An internationally renowned scholar, she is an expert on Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft and Aphra Behn. Her passion has been for women writers, both the largely unknown and the famous.
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Rating details

51 ratings
3.29 out of 5 stars
5 27% (14)
4 18% (9)
3 24% (12)
2 20% (10)
1 12% (6)
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