It was on this date, January 30, 1775, that English satirist and writer Walter Savage Landor was born in Ipsley Court, Warwick, the son of a doctor who married a woman of wealth. A bit of an unruly youth, Landor was removed from Rugby for insolence and suspended from Trinity College, Oxford, for firing off a shotgun in his rooms. Landor’s unrestrained personality got him sued for libel, so he moved to Italy with his wife and, in 1824, published his Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen (1824-29). This work, with its criticism of his host country, plus a charge of insulting the police, got Landor threatened with expulsion from Florence. He returned to England and published Pericles and Aspasia (1836), a series of imaginary letters recreating Athens and its civilization through the lives of the distinguished Greek statesman and the most learned woman of the Greek world – both of them advanced skeptics.
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Originally published January 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.