Title: Queen of the Wits
Editor: Norma Clarke
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Spartacus Website: Laetitia Pilkington
Prostitute and poetess, fallen woman and society wit, Laetitia Pilkington spent her life as close to fame as she was near to ruin. Favoured by, among others, the celebrated Jonathan Swift, she was divorced by her husband after being exposed as an adulteress. In London, she survived through her humour and her intelligence - and her skilful use of scandal - on the very fringes of respectability. Norma Clarke's hugely rich and enjoyable biography is the story of celebrity, sex and literature in the early eighteenth century. Above all, it brings to life a woman who embodied the scandal, energy and sadness of a time when literature, gossip and the lives they described were inseparable.