‘Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson’ by Paula Byrne

I picked up Perdita at the airport on the way to Egypt. It’s the biography of Mary Robinson, who was an actress, the most beautiful and fashionable woman in London, who became famous as the mistress of the Prince of Wales (and later Charles Fox and Colonel Tarleton, among others). Then, after she developed rheumatic fever and largely lost the use of her legs, she re-invented herself as a poet, novelist, playwright and radical feminist. Coleridge thought she had genius and particularly admired her ear for metre, she was chummy with Godwin and Wollstonecraft. And so on. Entertaining stuff.