Edward, Edward by Lolah Burford
It is a hunting tale of a strange romance between a worldly and dissolute man, James Noel Holland, Earl of Tyne, and the golden-haired young Edward, his ward--or perhaps his son. Homosexuality, sadomasochism, and incest are elements in their relationship--and so are affection, love, and the saving quality of grace.
The time of the story is the beginning of the nineteenth century--the pre-Regency years of domestic unrest, of the Napoleonic Wars, and of lawlessness, cruelty, and the vast chasm between the rulers and the ruled. The place is alternately the cold Northumberland wild country where the Earl has his seat, the grim and beautiful city of London during the Season with all its pomp, the retreats of Devon and Brighton, and eventually Vienna at the acme of its musical splendour. The background figures include Mrs. Siddons, the famous courtesan Harriett Wilson, various noted rogues, Beethoven and Schubert, Castlereagh, Godwin, George III, and particularly, in retrospect, John Wesley, whose religious teachings, precipitates and early crisis in Edward's life but is to prove an enduring force.
In the course of the narrative a great many warring elements shape Edward's character. He is sent to Oxford, where he proves a brilliant student. Holland takes him to London to spend some months living in his resplendent townhouse while he is grooming him--assisted by Beau Brummell, among other famous figures--to take his rightful place in the world of society when he comes of age and receives his inheritance--for the Earl has by now privately acknowledged that he is Edwards father. He obtains the skilled services of two of his former mistresses to introduce Edward to the techniques and arts of heterosexual intercourse--an experience which replulses Edward at first, and then proves pleaseant indeed. Soon Edward finds himself growing fond of a young girl--but both families violently oppose a match, in true Montague-Capulet fashion.
Many times the two men, father and son, abjure their passionate lovemaking, only to resume it more violently than before. Finally Edward's apparent duality, augmented by a serious psychological and physical breakdown, have all but destroyed him utterly. Deeply concerned, the Earl takes him to Vienna and dramatically demonstrates that now Edward must make one of two choices: life or death. And in the end of the story is the beginning....
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