Thursday, 23 September 2010
"not a spark of literary talent"
Close (the bearded man on the right having a well-deserved rest after all that pen-pushing) was an extraordinary publicist, sending unsolicited copies of his books to the rich and famous, and then later sending them a bill - he did this to clergymen, dukes and even Queen Victoria. If they failed to pay they were reviled or featured in his next book of poems. This was spamming Victorian-style, but his ruses worked and he did become truly famous (or is that infamous) in his day. He died in1891, and now his doggerel verses are much sought after as collector's items, despite the Dictionary of National Biography describing him as having "not a spark of literary talent."
"Who is it moves with such a grace,
with glasses 'cross her lovely face,
so like an Angel in this place"
was a typical offering made to flatter a local lady and persuade her to open her purse! Her heirs will now be glad that she did.