Nelson & His World

Praise for Emma
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Author:  tycho [ Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Praise for Emma

There is a third leader in today's Times headed 'Object of Virtue: Emma Hamilton's historical reputation deserves revision.'

Unfortunately, the online Times operates a paywall so I can't give a link; however, the piece refers to 'a new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum which illustrates poignantly the concerns of Emma...' I didn't know about this but perhaps others can tell us more.

The leader remarks that Emma's reputation suffered unjustly from the social prejudices of the time. It goes on to compare Nelson unfavourably with Emma, citing his brutality in Naples and his cruelty to his wife. 'Modern audiences,' it concludes, 'have a new opportunity to reflect on which , of the victor of Trafalgar and his lover, was the more virtuous figure.'

Letters to the Times are more likely to be published if they are short. Is it possible to compose a defence of Nelson in a few short sentences? No life is perfect and to single out a public misjudgment and a private unkindness in a life that was largely characterised by duty and much personal kindness seems a little unfair.

PS - I posted the above as soon as I read the leader - the page I turn to first. I now see there is a full-page spread about Nelson & Emma, with pictures, on page 3. The exhibition opens in November and tickets go on sale today.

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