Author(s) Michael John Franklin
Series: Writers of Wales
- March 2020 · 216 pages ·216x138mm
- · Paperback - 9781786835406
- · eBook - pdf - 9781786835413
- · eBook - epub - 9781786835420
This is the first biography to foreground the importance of Hester Lynch Piozzi’s Welsh heritage throughout her long life. As one anonymous reader put it, ‘Few eighteenth-century Welsh writers long resident in England continued to identify as strongly with their homeland.’ Born in an obscure plwyf in Caernarvonshire the salonnière of Streatham was finally laid to rest in the vault of Tremeirchion church in the Vale of Clwyd. Hester had been mortified at the failure of her brewer husband Henry Thrale, and her mentor Dr Samuel Johnson, to appreciate the beauties of Wales. But her second husband, musician Gabriel Piozzi, was so enamoured that he proposed residing there. Newly-found confidence inspired Piozzi to write in her middle age, and her daringly personal biography (1786) and edition of Johnson’s letters (1788) were runaway bestsellers. Her travel book (1789) treated the reader for the first time as an intimate friend, recounting her love affair with her husband’s homeland in Italy, whose landscape reminded her so much of Wales.
‘This is an eminently readable compact biography of a particularly colourful late eighteenth-century personality. Each of the various phases of Hester Salusbury/Thrale/Piozzi’s life is presented in detail, with full academic citations and a sustained attempt at providing the social and historical contexts of her changing times. As such, the book constitutes a welcome addition to the Writers of Wales series, and one which is likely to prove a useful resource for students and interested lay readers alike.’
-Emeritus Professor Jane Aaron, University of South Wales
'Franklin’s biography is accessible even for a lay reader, . There is also plenty of meat here for the professional historian or critic. This addition to the records of writers of Wales is a welcome discussion of an often overlooked character who took so many first steps for women in the intellectual life of her era.'
- Sarah Tanburn https://nation.cymru/culture/review-hester-lynch-thrale-piozzis-biography-is-accessible-but-has-plenty-of-meat-for-the-historian/
List of illustrations
Hester Lynch Salusbury: ‘a thousand pretty Tricks, […] a
Thousand pretty Stories and […] a Thousand pretty Verses’
The Two Hesters ‘have murder’d Peace & Happiness at Home’
The Arrivals of Queeney and the Great Cham.
Hester Brewster, or, ‘Women have a manifest Advantage
over Men in the doing Business’
‘Like a Rocket She rises, and leaves us to Stare’
‘To revise my past Life, & resolve upon a new one.’
‘To hie home and dye like a Hare upon the old Farm,
near the Place I was kindled at’
. ‘Each bold Cambrio Briton’s a Stranger to Fear’