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First Childhood (Lord Gerald Berners) by…

First Childhood (Lord Gerald Berners)

by Hugh Tyrwitt-Wilson

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 188598331X, Paperback)

Autobiographical accounts of Victorian childhood tend to fall into one of two camps: life was either golden or it closely resembled something straight out of the Brontë sisters. Gerald Tyrwhitt, a.k.a. the 14th Baron Berners, was an unusual memoirist for his day and age, chiefly because he eschewed both nostalgia and sentimentality, preferring instead to depict his youth in wry, frequently hilarious terms. Berners has been called "the last eccentric," and indeed in his adult life he would have given Auntie Mame a run for her money. Although this book ends with Berners's teetering on the verge of adolescence, it serves as prelude to the life that would follow: already the future baron was enamoured of art and dismal at sport--a situation frowned upon by the fox-hunting, grouse-shooting, cricket-loving upper classes into which he was born. Sent away to school at the age of six, he soon became aware of an even more frowned-upon proclivity: an attraction to other boys. Berners relates the events of his early life with humor and dash; who knew that the life of a prepubescent boy could be so entertaining?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:13 -0400)

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