Wainewright the Poisoner, Paperback

Wainewright the Poisoner Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


The author evokes Wainewright the poisoner's double life in a biography that takes the form of a confession.

He strips away the layers of legend and restores Wainewright to his own voice, capturing his energy, charm, callousness, wit and wantoness.




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An unusual approach to writing a biography of an interesting figure, where the documentary sources necessary for a 'normal' biography are lacking. Motion (who was Poet Laureate at the time of writing) crafts the material as a memoir in Wainewright's (slightly unreliable but very believable) voice, with copious notes after each chapter to keep the reader anchored in whatever facts are available. It works well. Motion also manages to highlight the discomfort of the Victorians at an accepted figure in the art and literature world of the time being responsible for some very evil crimes. Their response was to unconvincingly attempt to re-write history to show that he had always been evil. A nice historic vignette. (Read Feb 2011)

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