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Desperate Romantics

Their Bohemian lifestyle and intertwined love affairs shockingly broke 19th Century class barriers and bent the rules that governed the roles of the sexes. They became defined by love triangles, played out against the austere moral climate of Victorian England; they outraged their contemporaries with their loves, jealousies and betrayals, and they stunned society when their complex moral choices led to madness and suicide, or when their permissive experiments ended in addiction and death. The characters are huge and vivid and remain as compelling today as they were in their own time. The influential critic, writer and artist John Ruskin was their father figure and his apostles included the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the designer William Morris. They drew extraordinary women into their circle. In a move intended to raise eyebrows for its social audacity, they recruited the most ravishing models they could find from the gutters of Victorian slums. The saga is brought to life through the vivid letters and diaries kept by the group and the accounts written by their contemporaries. These real-lie stories shed new light on the greatest nineteenth-century British art.
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Promotional Information

In conjunction with a major series for BBC2, the scandalous saga of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

About the Author

Franny Moyle has a degree in English and History of Art from St John`s College, Cambridge. She has played a key role in the BBC`s arts programming, most recently as Commissioner of Arts and Culture across the BBC`s four main channels. A year ago she left to pursue her own projects and is now a freelance executive producer, handling some of their major cultural series. She is a director of the Hackney Empire, near her home in East London, and is married with three children.


'Drama, romance and Victorian morality aplenty' * Wharf, Giles Broadbent * 'This should be fascinating TV viewing ... a scandalous saga' * Bookseller * Sir John Ure is absorbed by an account of the Pre-Raphaelites . . . Franny Moyle [is] a scholarly and highly entertaining chronicler of their unruly exploits * Sir John Ure, Country Life * 'Vivacious book ... perfect material for a BBC2 drama tie-in this year ... all the elements for notoriety ...and entertainment!' * Lancashire Evening Post * 'For sheer, scabrous fun it is hard to imagine a better offering than Franny Moyle's Desperate Romantics ... an utterly gripping read' * International Express * 'Very well researched . . . Moyle achieves an unusual level of empathy . . . the story is certainly inflammatory' * Time Out * For sheer, scabrous fun it is hard to imagine a better offering than Franny Moyle's Desperate Romantics ... an utterly gripping read * Sunday Express * 'The age of the Romantics is alive and well in this fascinating book that accompanies the BBC series of the same name' * Tatler * It all bears retelling and Franny Moyle fleshes it out with some new material and shrewd surmises ... the book is well illustrated and researched, as well as crisply written * Irish Times * This makes for a thoroughly absorbing book, well illustrated with pictures...excellent material...if the BBC2 drama, which is scheduled to follow in the summer, is as well researched and presented as the book, it will be unmissable * Morning Star * 'This should be fascinating TV viewing ... a scandalous saga' * Bookseller * 'Look out for the major TV series which coincides with this book about the bad boys of the Victorian art world' * Unite Magazine * 'Particularly impressive is the way Moyle returns to a key various points to consider it from different will remind you of how all those wild young men and marginal girls fitted together in a nexus of mutual need and's got television written all over it, and in a good way, too' * Guardian * 'The book is highly readable and admirably free of bias and prurience' * Independent * 'Solidly researched book . . . Desperate Romantics is a cleanly written and evocative work that concentrates not only on the PRB as a group, but as individual geniuses' * Sunday Herald Magazine * 'Moyle tells the story with great verve, and the forthcoming drama based on her book should be one to look out for' * Choice * The book is packed with colourful illustrations and drawings, while the words are pretty darned colourful too' * Birmingham Post * 'This has been well-covered before but she retells it with exceptional vigour and with fine detail culled from original sources' * Daily Express * 'Moyle's book captures all the sex, madness and addiction, making modern-day sagas seem downright dull!' * Glamour * 'Read about the truth behind John and Effie Ruskin's unconsummated marriage . . . and a host of other seemingly respectable 'Blue Plaque' names who lived their lives at a pace that would leave Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman breathless' * The Resident * 'The jauntiness of her approach is a refreshing antidote to the incestuous, dreamlike claustrophobia of these interlocking lives. Her book is powerful, absorbing and, well, rather jolly' * Sunday Times * 'Riveting . . . Moyle captures vividly the texture and colour of this vital world' * Independent on Sunday * 'Desperate Romantics is a gripping read and far more than a historical biography. It's like reading a modern-day soap opera. Franny Moyle writes as if she'd been transported from 1848 to the present day to report on their fascinating lives' * Now, Clare Nasir * 'A hectic tale, packed with sex and dark drama...not so much an extension but an explosion and an echo of today's celebrity culture' * West End Extra, Gerald Isaaman *

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