Books: Rare Mixture

FANNY KEMBLE: A PASSIONATE VICTORIAN — Margaret Armstrong — Macmillan ($3).

Though the Victorian era has long been considered smug and lacklustre, readers of Victorian lives may yet decide that Victorianism turned out as many unconventional characters as Prohibition did drinkers.

Latest addition to the growing evidence of bootleg Victorian unconventionally is Margaret Armstrong's story of Fanny Kemble, to whom Novelist Henry James, her close friend, paid this tribute: "She was one of the rarest of women. . . . She reanimated the old drawing-rooms, relighted the old lamps, retuned the old pianos. ....

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