Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) is the lost giant of English culture - the 'spiritual grandfather' of the modern world according to Virginia Woolf. Descended from black Caribbean's, Hunt was a child of the American and French Revolutions, determined to throw off the old order. As a poet and a radical journalist, he was a passionate advocate of liberal causes and was jailed for his daring campaign against establishment corruption embodied by the Prince Regent. A complex and contradictory figure, Hunt enjoyed the role of political martyr and the homage of writers like Lord Byron while battling with psychic vulnerability and private phobias. Hunt's genius discovered poets like Keats, Shelley, and Tennyson, and his own sparklingly controversial poetry advocates the sexual freedom that characterised all his relationships. In the first full biography in over seventy years, Fiery Heart brilliantly captures this fascinating man and his turbulent times.
Nicholas Roe is Professor of English at St Andrews University. He is the author of many books on Romanticism, including Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years (1990), John Keats and the Culture of Dissent (1998), and The Politics of Nature: William Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries (2002).