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At the end of December 1817, two years after Waterloo, Benjamin Robert Haydon, history painter, gave a dinner party to which he invited his young friend John Keats, budding poet, to meet his elder, the celebrated William Wordsworth. Charles Lamb, essayist and wit, was also included among the guests. There was laughter, the declamation of poetry, high-minded discussions of noble matters and ridiculous antics during the party which came to be known as the Immortal Dinner.
Penelope Hughes-Hallett's book celebrates this rare gathering, setting it against a backdrop of change, reflected in the preoccupations of the diners, as they sat on that memorable winter's evening drinking toasts.
Penelope Hughes-Hallett was born in 1927 and brought up in Jane Austen's Steventon. She has
written on Jane Austen's letters, Wordsworth and Coleridge in the Lakes and has also edited an anthology of childhood. She lives in Warwickshire with her husband Michael; they have three children and seven grandchildren.