Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Kaplan, Louis J.
The Family Romance of the Imposter-Poet Thomas Chatterton.

New York Atheneum: 1988.

A psychoanalytic study which examines Chatterton's personality and motives. Thomas Chatterton is perhaps the best known author/charlatan whose fakery turned to abject tragedy. As a 17 year-old unknown in 18th century England Chatterton thought, probably correctly, that he would not be able to get anyone to pay much attention to his poetic efforts, so he invented a 15th century monk named Thomas Rowley to whom he attributed his poems. Chatterton took a very serious approach to his work, writing his poems first in 18th century English, and then painstakingly "translating" them, with the help of several Anglo-Saxon dictionaries, into 15th century English before carefully transcribing them onto old parchment. It was the "translating" that tripped him up, the forgery was soon detected and denounced, and a despondent Chatterton committed suicide. Since his work showed him to have had prodigious talent and promise, this final act probably robbed the literary world of a great poet to this day he has a devoted group of fans.

Hardcover. 6"x9", 301 pages, b/w illustrations, dj near fine.

Inventory #: 30780
Price: $ 25.00      

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