ISBN 0 9524897 9 1
248 x 170mm
Harriette Wilson - Lady of Pleasure
Valerie Grosvenor Myer
With an introduction by Sue Limb ('Dulcie Domum' of The Guardian)
Harriette Wilson's scandalous memoirs were the sensation of 1825. Mothers forbade their daughters to read them. Libel actions followed.
Harriette, in a rollercoaster career, slept with gentlemen for money. Then, in middle age, she sent blackmail letters demanding £200 from each of her clients to leave them out of her proposed 'kiss and tell' book. The Duke of Wellington is credited with replying: 'Publish and be damned'. Lord Craven, the Duke of Argyll and the Marquis of Worcester also refused to pay up. Lord Brougham of Vaux, Harriette's legal advisor and later Lord Chancellor, bought her silence - as did King George IV. Valerie Grosvenor Myer has unearthed fresh details about these and other now-forgotten aristocrats, who crowded into her opera box - and her bed.
This is the first biography of Harriette Wilson for over 60 years. Based on the unbowdlerised version of her own earthy but sparkling text, it reveals a spicy pot-pourri of the high-rolling, promiscuous Regency society, with its dandies, gamblers, eccentrics, swindlers, pugilists and procurers, and the 'demireps' of whom Harriette was uncrowned queen.
Valerie Grosvenor Myer graduated with first-class honours in English from Newnham College, Cambridge. Harriette Wilson is her thirteenth book. Others have been translated into Swedish, Dutch, German, Polish, Japanese and Chinese.