You're viewing an archived page from a previous Festival of Ideas. See this year's festival »
Limited accessibility, please contact 01904 655543 for further details.
To his admirers, Charles Pigott was a ‘bold and free-spoken man’. To those who had grown up with him at Eton and Cambridge, or knew him from high-rolling Whig gambling circles at Newmarket, he was someone who ‘robbed his friends, cheated his creditors, repudiated his wife, and libelled all his acquaintances’. In 1792 his collection of potted biographies published as The Jockey Club made him as infamous as Thomas Paine and his Rights of Man. The government prosecuted both books with equal vigour. In this talk given at Fairfax House, Professor Jon Mee, Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York, discusses Pigott’s short sharp career, from a radical and blackmailer through to a destitute and social outcast, culminating ultimately with his death from gaol fever.
Jon Mee is the Professor of Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Studies. He was formerly Margaret Candfield Fellow of English at the University College Oxford and Professor of English at the University of Warwick. His most recent book, Conversable Worlds (Oxford, 2011) was a study of the idea of conversation in the eighteenth century. He is currently completing a book on London radicalism in the 1790s and working on the spread of literary and philosophical societies in the north.