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Books

Sunday roasts and beaded bubbles: dining with the poets

In a review of The Immortal Evening by Stanley Plumly and Poets and the Peacock Dinner by Lucy McDiarmid, Richard Davenport-Hines relives two feasts of literary legend

3 January 2015

9:00 AM

3 January 2015

9:00 AM

The Immortal Evening: A Legendary Dinner with Keats, Wordsworth and Lamb Stanley Plumly

W. W. Norton, pp.336, £18.99

Poets and the Peacock Dinner: The Literary History of a Meal Lucy McDiarmid

Oxford University Press, pp.212, £20

In December 1817 Benjamin Robert Haydon — vivid diarist and painter of huge but inferior canvases of historic events — held a Sunday luncheon to which he invited John Keats, Charles Lamb and William Wordsworth. Nearly a century later, in January 1914, seven poets and Lord Osborne de Vere Beauclerk met in Sussex to eat roast peacock at another Sunday lunch.

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