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R. H. Gronow (1794–1865)

Forfatter af Selections from the Reminiscences of Captain Gronow

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Captain Gronow (1794-1865), Rees Howell Gronow, educated at Eton, a military man, politician, dandy and writer moved in high circles, tells the reader right at the beginning that he was ‘thrown amongst most of the remarkable men of my day’ (page iii). Furthermore, he had a strong memory enabling him to ‘recall with all their original vividness scenes that took place fifty years ago, and distinctly recollect the face, walk, and voice, as well as the dress and general manner, of every one of whom I have known (page iii).

This copy of Captain Gronow’s Reminiscences must have found its way to Dalton Hall and George Hornby, also an Etonian. The pencilled inscription suggests that he was reading it or had it with him in Naples in 1862. The annotations, mainly in blue ink, are numerous, ranging from minor comments to helpful additional information and from criticism to rebuttal of the author’s claims to great powers of recollection, a point also drawn attention to in Gronow’s Wikipedia entry, with reference to some of his tales and stories:

‘but his second-hand stories and anecdotes of persons whom he did not know are of lesser value. Whether reliable or not, his narrative is invariably lively and entertaining’ (see Wikipedia: accessed March 30th 2020).

There is no doubt that the Reminiscences are entertaining. From the very beginning and the author’s ‘boyish delight at being named to so distinguished a regiment’ (page 1), the First Guards in December 1812, the narrative rushes along through battles, society, remarkable characters of the time, the French cavalry, the Duke of Wellington and his opinions, coaching and racing, duelling, Lord Byron of whom he ‘knew very little…personally’ (page 209), Lords, Ladies, jewellery and lovers, stopping here and there, just occasionally, for instance, on arrival with the guards at Bordeaux where he ‘had an opportunity of meeting some of the prettiest women of a city famed all over Europe for its female beauty’ (page 33). It is a rambunctious rollercoaster that leaves the reader at times breathless.
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jon1lambert | 1 anden anmeldelse | Apr 1, 2020 |
"Read Gronow's " Memoirs," that chatty little yellow volume yonder which brings all that age back to us more vividly than any more pretentious work, and you will find the chivalrous admiration which our officers expressed at the fine performance of the French horsemen."
--Through the Magic Door, p. 167-168

"Gronow's account is also very vivid and interesting."
--Through the Magic Door, p. 188
ACDoyleLibrary | 1 anden anmeldelse | Mar 1, 2010 |

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