Title: Lord Rochester’s Monkey
Author: Graham Greene
Page Count/Review Word Count: 231
This book is a bit of an anomaly, the kind of book that most people wouldn’t know about despite the fact that it’s written by a celebrated author, a man who’s usually grouped under ‘classics‘ in the bookshop. Lord Rochester’s Monkey is, in fact, a thoroughly interesting read whether you’re interested in history or not.
Loosely speaking, it’s a biography of “Restoration rake and poet” John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester, who was “famed for his lecheries, wild pranks and drunkenness, feared for his biting wit.” Now, I’d never heard of the guy, but despite the fact that it could’ve been a biography of anyone for all I cared, and the fact that I was reading it because of an interest in the author himself and not his subject matter, I actually enjoyed learning about Wilmot and the court of Charles II.
That said, I wouldn’t read it again – it was interesting, sure, but it wasn’t that interesting, and one long session of learning about John Wilmot is enough for me. I wish I knew a little more about why Greene chose Wilmot in the first place – perhaps there was a personal reason for it, or perhaps it’s just because Wilmot was “one of the finest poets of his age”.