Some time ago, I abandoned the regular discussion of selected books. The reason should have been obvious. The cause has disappeared, and we can resume. Working on the second volume of Properties of Blood, I need to rewrite the chapters on revenge. This is a good occasion for looking at the classic work of the English stage, The Avenger’s Tragedy….
Chatterton, a late 18th century poet, is more famous as a legend–the teenage poet who died at 17–than as a writer. The Romantics, French as well as English, lionized him. His best known poems are the medievalizing verses he attributed to a 15th century poet, but his talent for painting satiric portraits is evident in “Apostate Will”–a fine sketch of the clergy on the make,