He recreates a dinner held one night around 200 years ago when the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon hosted a meal to introduce his young friend John Keats to the great William Wordsworth. Charles Lamb was also a guest, and they celebrated the completion of Haydon's painting Christs Entry Into Jerusalem
, an historical painting in which they all appeared.
dramatically detailed, compulsively readable.
On 28 December 1817, Benjamin Robert Haydon hosted what he refers to in his diaries and autobiography as the "immortal dinner". He wanted to introduce his young friend John Keats to the great William Wordsworth and to celebrate his progress on his most important historical painting so far, Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, in which Keats, Wordsworth and Charles Lamb, also a guest at the party, appear. After thoughtful and entertaining discussions of poetry and art and their relation to Enlightenment science, the party evolves into a lively, raucous evening. This event will prove to be a highlight in the lives of these immortals. A beautiful and profound work of extraordinary brilliance, The Immortal Evening takes this dinner as a lens through which to understand the lives and work of these men and to contemplate the immortality of genius.