Book Review: I, Libertine by Theodore Sturgeon (Three Stars)


Book Review: I, Libertine by Theodore Sturgeon

(Three Stars)

“Because never in my life have I had life’s permission to develop the taste for simple pleasures, I shall pursue dark ones.”

Historical fiction as if done by Terry Pratchett. The intriguing background for this book can be found elsewhere. Knowing it only adds the Sturgeon’s accomplishment: he wrote a book which had supposedly already been written and did so with meticulous attention to historic detail and plausibility.

“We must present you as rake, not defiler; libertine rather than lecher.” “Libertine—I?” “Men have made greater sacrifices for king, country, and career.” “And how on earth am I to find just a proper scandal?” “Manufacture it, lad.”

Though set in 1770s England, the story is something of a send up of regency romances, such as of Jane Austen and contemporaries. It as if Sturgeon lifted a regency novel roué and made him the protagonist.

“Every onset of passion is a digression from rational conduct.”

Contrary to the provocative title, this is not pornography. Not even close. It is funny and sad. I suspect Sturgeon had great fun writing it.

“What would I do without you?” “Do without, I imagine.”