The life of an unusual and little-known poet, Lionel Johnson, is related here for the first time and the author's personal acquaintance with some of those who knew his subject when they were young is of special importance, providing as it does anecdotal glimpses of character that are unavailable in more bookish research. This, together with his detailed description of places and events, paints in these pages a convincing portrait of a much-troubled nineteenth-century poet and essayist.
The Victorian theocratic condemnation and the illegality of unapproved sexual relations after the Oscar Wilde case meant that the lives of young men like Lionel Johnson were blighted by religious guilt and psychological mal-adjustment. These, in their turn, created in many of them an isolation and frequent alcoholic addiction that destroyed much promise and talent at an early age .
Richard Whittington-Egan was born in Liverpool in 1924, and he originally read medicine and was also to qualify for the Bar. During the Second World War he served in the army in France. Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy.
He has contributed articles and book reviews to many of Britain's leading newspapers and periodicals and spent 30 years on Fleet Street as a journalist with Associated Newspapers. A frequent radio broadcaster, he ran his own programme for Radio Merseyside, and made many television appearances.
A member of the Medico-Legal Society, and the Crimes Club, he is an acknowledged authority on Jack the Ripper, and has collaborated with his wife, Molly, in The Bedside Book of Murder.