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However, when the King restored the Jesuits Landor returned his commission.

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In Landor wrote "Three letters to Don Francisco Riquelme" giving him the benefit of his wisdom as a participant in the war. In he wrote "a brave and good letter to Sir Francis Burdett. The Spanish experience provided inspiration for the tragedy of Count Julian , based on Julian, count of Ceuta. Although this demonstrated Landor's distinctive style of writing, it suffered from his failure to study the art of drama and so made little impression. The plot is difficult to follow unless the story is previously known and concerns a complicated situation after the defeat of the last Visigoth King of Spain.

It carries the moral tone of crime propagating crime. Southey undertook to arrange publication and eventually got it published by Murray in , after an initial refusal by Longmans which led Landor to burn another tragedy "Ferranti and Giulio".

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Swinburne described it as "the sublimest poem published in our language, between the last masterpiece of Milton Samson Agonistes and the first masterpiece of Shelley , Prometheus Unbound one equally worthy to stand unchallenged beside either for poetic perfection as well as moral majesty. The superhuman isolation of agony and endurance which encircles and exalts the hero is in each case expressed with equally appropriate magnificence of effect.

The style of Count Julian , if somewhat deficient in dramatic ease and the fluency of natural dialogue, has such might and purity and majesty of speech as elsewhere we find only in Milton so long and so steadily sustained. Before going to Spain, he had been looking for a property and settled on Llanthony Abbey in Monmouthshire , a ruined Benedictine abbey.

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He sold the property at Rugeley which he inherited from his father, and persuaded his mother to sell her Tachbrook estate to contribute to the purchase cost. On his return from Spain he was busy finalising these matters. The previous owner had erected some buildings in the ruins of the ancient abbey, but an Act of Parliament, passed in , was needed to allow Landor to pull down these buildings and construct a house, which was never finished. He wanted to become a model country gentleman, planting trees, importing sheep from Spain, and improving the roads. In he went to a ball in Bath and seeing a pretty girl exclaimed "That's the nicest girl in the room, and I'll marry her".

She was Julia Thuillier, the daughter of an impoverished Swiss banker who had an unsuccessful business at Banbury and had gone to Spain, leaving his family at Bath. Landor had a visit from Southey, after he sent him a letter describing the idylls of country life, including nightingales and glow-worms. However the idyll was not to last long as for the next three years Landor was worried by the combined vexation of neighbours and tenants, lawyers and lords-lieutenant and even the Bishop of St David's , while at the same time he tried to publish an article on Fox, a response to a sycophantic piece by John Bernard Trotter, which was condemned by the prospective publisher John Murray as libellous and damned by Canning and Gifford.

His troubles with the neighbours stemmed from petty squabbles, many arising from his headstrong and impetuous nature. He employed a solicitor one Charles Gabell, who saw him as a client to be milked. His trees were uprooted and his timber stolen. A man against whom he had to swear the peace drank himself to death, and he was accused of causing the misfortune and when he prosecuted a man for theft he was insulted by the defendant's counsel whom he later "chastised" in his Latin poetry.

He was fond of revenge through his verse, Latin or otherwise and gave his opinion of his lawyers in the following piece of doggerel. When the Bishop failed to reply to his letter offering to restore part of the priory Landor followed up saying "God alone is great enough for me to ask anything of twice". He wanted to become a magistrate and after a row with the Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Beaufort , who was suspicious of his republican sympathies, he pursued the matter with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon well known as a High Tory without success.

He wasted much effort and money in noble attempts to improve the land, and to relieve the wretchedness and raise the condition of the poorer inhabitants. The final straw was when he let his farmland to one Betham who was incompetent and extravagant and paid no rent. After an expensive action to recover the debts from Betham he had had enough, and decided to leave the country, abandoning Llanthony to his creditors — which was principally his mother.

Charles Fox which presents the radical Whig leader in a positive light and includes a dedication to American president James Madison and strong criticism of the Tory government and Canning, but left it unpublished for fear of prosecution. In Landor left England for Jersey , where he had a quarrel with his wife and set off for France on his own. Eventually she joined him at Tours as did his brother Robert.

Landor soon became dissatisfied with Tours and after tremendous conflicts with his landlady set off in September with his wife and brother on a tempestuous journey to Italy.


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Landor and his wife finally settled at Como where they stayed for three years. Even here he had troubles for at the time Caroline of Brunswick , wife of the Prince Regent was living there and Landor was suspected of being an agent involved in watching her in case of divorce proceedings. In he insulted the authorities in a Latin poem directed against an Italian poet who had denounced England, not realising that the libel laws in Italy unlike in England applied to Latin writings as well as Italian.

After threatening the regio delegato with a beating he was ordered to leave Como. In September he went to Genoa and Pisa. He finally settled at Florence in After two years in apartments in the Medici Palace , he settled with his wife and children at the Villa Castiglione. In this, the most important period in his literary career, he produced some of his best known works — the Imaginary Conversations. The first two volumes of his Imaginary Conversations appeared in [14] with a second edition in ; a third volume was added in ; and in the fourth and fifth volumes were published.

Not until was a fresh instalment added, in the second volume of his collected and selected works.


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Many of the imaginary conversations harshly criticize authoritarian rule and endorse republican principles. With these works, Landor acquired a high, but not wide literary reputation.

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He had various disputes with the authorities in Florence. The theft of some silver led to altercations with the police, whose interviews with tradesmen ended up defining him as a "dangerous man", and the eventual upshot was that the Grand Duke banished him from Florence. Subsequently, the Grand Duke took the matter good-naturedly, and ignored Landor's declaration that, as the authorities disliked his residence, he should reside there permanently.

Here he had a dispute with a neighbour about water rights, which led to a lawsuit and a challenge, although the English Consul Kirkup succeeded in arranging the point of honour satisfactorily. His mother, with whom he had always corresponded affectionately, died in October and his cousin Walter Landor of Rugeley took over the management of the estate in Wales. Landor was happy at Villa Gherardesca for several years, writing books, playing with his children whom he adored and with the nightingales, and planting his gardens.

He had many visitors, most notably in Jane Swift Ianthe now a widow, who inspired him to write poetry again.


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Later came Henry Crabb Robinson with whom he got on extremely well. Although this sold only 40 copies, Landor was unconcerned as he was working on "High and Low Life in Italy". This last work he sent to Crabb Robinson for publication but he had difficulties with publishers and it did not appear until In Ablett persuaded him to visit England, where he met many old friends.

Landor: One Hundred Poems

He also visited his family in Staffordshire — his brother Charles was rector of Colton, and his cousin Walter Landor of Rugeley was trying to deal with the complex business of Llanthony. On returning to Fiesole he found his children out of hand and obtained a German governess for them.

Back in Italy he met Richard Monckton Milnes who later wrote about him. Lady Blessington sold "Shakespeare" for him. In Ianthe visited again, and brought her half-sister, Mrs Paynter, with her.

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Landor's wife Julia became jealous, although she already had a younger lover, and their difference of opinion ended in a complete separation. Landor was 60 by now and went to Lucca where he finished "Pericles and Aspasia" and in September returned to England alone in the autumn.

He stayed with Ablett at Llanbedr for three months, spent winter at Clifton and returned to him afterwards, when Ablett persuaded him to contribute to "Literary Hours" which was published the next year. It is in the form of an Imaginary Conversation and describes the development of Aspasia's romance with Pericles, who died in the Peloponnesian War, told in a series of letters to a friend Cleone. The work is one of Landor's most joyous works and is singled out by contemporary critics as an introduction to Landor at his best.

On one occasion Landor was travelling to Clifton incognito and chatting to a fellow traveller when the traveller, John Sterling , observed that his strange paradoxical conversation sounded like one of Landor's Imaginary Conversations. Landor covered his retreat, but later became acquainted formally with Sterling. Also in , Landor met John Forster who became his biographer, having become friends after Forster's review of his "Shakespeare".

Later that year he went to Heidelberg in Germany hoping to meet his children, but was disappointed. He wrote more imaginary conversations including one between Lord Eldon and Escombe. When a lady friend rebuked him for this on the basis that Eldon was now over eighty, Landor replied unmoved with the quip "The devil is older".

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One Hundred Poems

He had several other publications that year besides Pericles, including "Letter from a Conservative" , "A Satire on Satirists" which included a criticism of Wordsworth's failure to appreciate Southey, Alabiadas the Young Man, and "Terry Hogan" , a satire on Irish priests. He wintered again at Clifton where Southey visited him. It is possible that Ianthe was living at Bristol, but the evidence is not clear, and in she went to Austria, where she remained for some years. At the end of the year he published "Death of Clytemnestra" and "The Pentalogia" , containing five of his finest shorter studies in dramatic poetry.

The last piece to be published was "Pentameron". In the spring of he took a house in Bath and wrote his three plays the "Andrea of Hungary" , "Giovanna of Naples" , and "Fra Rupert".