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"Nelson's sensational mistress: How Emma Hamilton took " Topic

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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2018 10:40 a.m. PST

….took Europe by storm.

"Temptress, seductress, fallen woman, mistress of Britain's greatest naval hero. During her life and since her death, 
descriptions of Emma Hamilton have tended to be variations on an old and predictable theme. It is, of course, a common fate for women in the public eye to be reduced to the sum of their actual or imagined sexual history. However, the gap between salacious stereotype and reality is unusually pronounced for Emma, whose life story is surely one of the most remarkable and varied of the 18th century. Propelled by performative talent, artistic creativity, beauty and a fierce desire to improve herself, she rose from obscurity to European fame while still in her twenties. Yet, and in spite of some powerful revisionist biographies, we are obliged to peer through a blizzard of moralising criticism to discern her achievements…."
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britishbulldog19 Jan 2018 12:53 p.m. PST

A very interesting article Armand. Having read a couple of books on the life of Nelson I consider the article a well balanced account of the life of Emma. It does not mention the fact that Nelson tried to secure financial help from HMG for her in the event of his death, if I recall correctly, the last request was made when writing his will prior to the battle of Trafalgar. The finances were not forthcoming and combined with her wanton spending, hence her entrance into the debtors prison.

MaggieC7019 Jan 2018 5:19 p.m. PST

Given the rather loose morals among the aristocracy at the time, although nothing like it would become under Prinney's rule, I have always wondered at the very harsh treatment of Emma Hamilton. Nelson was by far not the only "hero" with a mistress, so why the disapprobation?

I always thought her treatment after Nelson's death was the height of tight-lipped British hypocrisy.

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