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Jeoffry Reviews

Jeoffry by Oliver Soden

Jeoffry: The Poet's Cat

Oliver Soden

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: The History Press Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publication date: 6 Oct 2020
ISBN: 9780750995672

'Simply unforgettable ... one of the most beautiful and haunting books of recent times' - Alexander McCall Smith

4 stars out of 5
Sam Leith
3 Oct 2020

"Oliver Soden’s ‘biography’ of Christopher Smart’s cat Jeoffry is a sly introduction to the full panoply of Georgian London"

It is also, of course, a work of imaginative reconstruction, of fiction, even as its scholarly apparatus — endnotes, footnotes and index— bespeaks scrupulous research. I found myself marvelling — assuming the history is to be trusted — that a single cat, at a distance of 250-odd years, can be reliably traced from kittenhood in a London bawdy house, via its most celebrated owner, to sunset years in Devon (including an encounter with the infant Samuel Taylor Coleridge). But it also poses the implicit question of how fictional biographies are in any case.