When Sir William Temple (1628–99) and Dorothy Osborne (1627–95) began their passionate love affair, civil war was raging in Britain, and their families—parliamentarians and royalists, respectively—did everything to keep them apart. Yet the couple went on to enjoy a marriage and a sophisticated partnership unique in its times. Surviving the political chaos of the era, the Black Plague, the Great Fire of London, and the deaths of all their nine children, William and Dorothy made a life together for more than forty years.
Drawing upon extensive research and the Temples’ own extraordinary writings—including Dorothy’s dazzling letters, hailed by Virginia Woolf as one of the glories of English literature—Jane Dunn gives us an utterly captivating dual biography, the first to examine Dorothy’s life as an intellectual equal to her diplomat husband. While she has been known to posterity as the very symbol of upper-class seventeenth-century domestic English life, Dunn makes clear that Dorothy was a woman of great complexity, of passion and brilliance, noteworthy far beyond her role as a wife and mother. The remarkable story of William and Dorothy’s life together—illuminated here by the author’s insight and her vivid sense of place and time—offers a rare glimpse into the heart and spirit of one of the most turbulent and intriguing eras in British history.
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|Title of History eBook: Read My Heart|
|Release Date: 10-14-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Read My Heart|
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Read My Heart
Can There Be a More Romance Story Than Ours?
All letters methinks should be free and easy as one’s discourse not studied, as an oration, nor made up of hard words like a charm.
—DOROTHY OSBORNE [to William Temple, September 1653]
as those romances are best which are likest true stories, so are those true stories which are likest romances
—WILLIAM TEMPLE [to Dorothy Osborne, c. 1648–50]
The romance began in the dismal year of 1648. It was much wetter than usual with an English summer full of rain. The crops were spoiled, the animals sickened “and cattle died of a murrain everywhere.” The human population had fared no better. The heritage of Elizabeth I’s reign had been eighty years of peace, the longest such period since the departure of the Romans over twelve centuries before. After this, the outbreak of civil war in 1642 had come as a severe shock. Few had remained unscathed. By the time the crops failed in 1648, the first hostilities of the war were over but the bitterness remained. The nightmare of this domestic kind of war was its indistinct firing lines and the fact the enemy was not an alien but a neighbour, brother or friend. The rift lines were complex and deep. Old rivalries and new opportunism added to the murderous confusion of civil war. Waged in the name of opposing interests and ideologies, the pitiful destruction and its bitter aftermath were acted out on the village greens and town squares, in the demesnes of castles and the courtyards of great country houses.
One of the many displaced by war was the young woman Dorothy Osborne. She was twenty-one and in peaceful times w