Decorated initial L

andon’s poetry upheld the idea of love as the sole happiness a woman could achieve, and deprived of it she could only be miserable, even suicidal. This was one of her masks: in her real life, Landon knew better than this. She was one of very few women who, if she needed to, could support herself by her writing, especially if she were properly paid for it. This must have given her a measure of satisfaction and independence. Love was a bonus.

William Jerdan kept her close, reviewing and writing for the Literary Gazette, escorting her around town to exhibitions and theatres, and visiting her when he could. All this did not compensate for an undivided, whole-hearted love such as most young women wanted and needed. Whether Landon felt guilt and sorrow over stealing so much of Jerdan away from his wife and family cannot be known. Nothing in her writing suggests remorse, even though as a child she had known Frances Jerdan, playing around her home with the Jerdan children. No letters have been discovered that give any inkling of Landon’s thoughts on the matter, and in none of the contemporary biographies is there a murmur of her affair with Jerdan, other than to decry the calumny brought down on Landon’s head as time went on. In the absence therefore, of any evidence to the contrary, it could be assumed that Landon was so immersed in her feelings for Jerdan, there was no room to allow thoughts of his other life and commitments.


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Last modified 16 July 2020