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Old 11-11-2013, 12:26 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Weyman, Stanley J.: Shrewsbury (Illustrated) 11 Nov 2013

Stanley John Weyman was born in 1855. He graduated from Oxford in 1877 with a degree in history. With this degree he was unable to make much of a living for himself. He was called to the Bar in 1881 and practiced law for ‘eight wretched years’ never making more than £200 a year and frequently angering judges with his nervous incompetence in court.

Cornhill Magazine editor James Payn convinced him to undertake fiction. He began publishing in 1883 with his short The Story of a Courtship for The English Illustrated Magazine. But not until his first novel The House of the Wolf, set in 16th Century France, was he catapulted to fame. From 1890 onwards he was the lion of a very special and elegant literary form. His best books, including From the Memoirs of a Minister of France (1893), A Gentleman of France (1893), Under the Red Robe (1894) and The Red Cockade (1895) are all but without parallel in excellence. He died in 1928.

Shrewsbury is set in England during the Restoration of Charles II, the brief reign of James, the ‘Glorious Revolution’, and the reign of William and Mary. After the Restoration many of the people who had overthrown Charles I had been executed, and during the reign of William and Mary ‘many in high places spent their days in a dreadful looking forward to judgment… This begot a period of plots and counter-plots, of perjury and intrigue, of denunciations and accusations real and feigned, such as I believe no other country has ever known; the Jacobites considering a restoration certain, and the time only doubtful; while the Whigs in their hearts were inclined to agree with them and feared the worst.’

The protagonist is a weak and cowardly man who was almost destroyed by his first love, but was enabled by his second love to risk his life to save the Duke of Shrewsbury from a false accusation.

This version modernises the spelling and punctuation, curls the quotes, adds some scene breaks, and corrects some typographical errors.
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