William Jerdan was a pivotal figure in the history of English literature spanning the Georgian and Victorian eras. For thirty-four years he was the editor of the first weekly review of literature, the London Literary Gazette, where he wrote most of the journals critical reviews which made or marred literary success in this period of exceptional growth in book production and rise in readership. Jerdans convivial character and central place in English literary life caused him to be personally acquainted with almost all the creative and influential figures of his day. He was raised in the Scottish Borders where he met Robert Burns and Walter Scott. Later Byron, Wordsworth, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens and many other luminaries played a part in his life. At the time of the attack in the House of Commons he detained the assassin of one Prime Minister and was the intimate friend of another. Jerdan was a founder member of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Garrick Club, a maverick member of the Literary Fund, and an honorary Fraserian. This first biography of Jerdan discusses his own fiction and poetry, revealing several works not previously attributed to him. Many aspects of his colourful professional and private life are explored, including the scandalous relationship with his protegee, the famous poet LEL, for which he was lampooned in the satirical press. His conflicted life led him from the heights of literary and social celebrity through the Bankruptcy Court and into penury. His life at the centre of literary London mirrored the violent swings in the countrys political and financial affairs -- events which provide the background to Susan Matoffs extensive and revealing biography.
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