- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown (1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316117099
- ISBN-13: 978-0316117098
- Package Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,170,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The rise and fall of a Regency dandy: The life and times of Scrope Berdmore Davies Hardcover – 1981
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Burnett, T.A.J., Rise And Fall Of A Regency Dandy, The: The Life And Times Of Scro
Top customer reviews
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I take off two stars for a couple of reasons. First, there is the over reliance on Scrope's trunk. For those who haven't heard the story, when Scrope fled from his creditors, he packed all of the business papers of his life, placed them into a trunk, and deposited them at a bank. There they fought forgotten for over a century, until unearthed again in 1972. Since Scrope didn't publish his memoirs and he corresponded with the leading people of his day, the finding of Scrope's trunk was truly a literary goldmine. Even though it provides the day-to-day insight into his life, sometimes when the story spends two pages explaining the nuances of one of his bills, it's time to move on.
A second reason is the over description and activities of the friends in Scrope's life, instead of Scrope's life itself. Again, the reasoning is understandable. Scrope was friends with great people in history, those who did publish and leave their journals. Therefore, their historic record is so much more well developed among these also interesting people in Scrope's orbit. It's natural the book is going to lean heavily onto them. For instance, the book goes into detail on Lord Byron's separation, where this is covered so much more extensively in other works. At some points, I was thinking the book should actually be titled, "Scrope Davie's Friends" instead of "Scrope Davies." I estimated only about 60% of the book is about Scrope; the rest are about the friends of his life.
Third, the book fails to interpret and provide detail where needed. The chapter of Scrope's financial ruin is reduced to a short three pages. Scrope went into exile at age 38, died at 69, yet that period in his life isn't well developed. It appears the author also got lazy near the end. Large blocks of letters and correspondence are quoted with little narration and interpretation. Where in the beginning the author places into Scrope's head to explain his likely thinking, at the end of the story, we're left just reading long letters between his friends.
In the end, this book is a good read on a fascinating person, given the inadequate historical records on which to draw the rich story that Scrope deserves. The book is worth your time, but it probably won't make your favorite's list