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The Kit-Cat Club

UK Publisher: HarperPress

The fascinating history of the male-only members of the Kit-Cat Club, the unofficial centre of Whig power in 17th century Britain, and home to the greatest political and artistic thinkers of a generation.

The Kit-Cat Club was founded in the late 1690s when London bookseller Jacob Tonson forged a partnership with pie-maker Christopher (Kit) Cat. What began as an eccentric publishing rights deal – Tonson paying to feed talented young writers and receiving first option on their works – developed into a unique gathering of intellects and interests, then into an unofficial centre of Whig power during the reigns of William & Mary, Anne and George I.

With consummate skill, Ophelia Field portrays this formative period in British history through the club’s intimate lens. She describes the vicious Tory-Whig ‘paper wars’ and the mechanics of aristocratic patronage, the London theatre world and its battles over sexual morality, England’s Union with Scotland and the hurly-burly of Westminster politics.


Praise for The Kit-Cat Club:

‘Wonderfully readable and impeccably researched’ – Sunday Telegraph

‘Elegant’ – Guardian

‘What a wonderful subject Ophelia Field has found, and how adroitly she has developed it’ – Spectator

‘What particularly distinguishes this book is the humane perspective in which the writer places her protagoninsts… As an essay in group biography her book presents an authoritative portrait of a genuinely revolutionary era’ – Sunday Telegraph


‘Clear and scholarly’ – Independent

‘Highly intelligent’ – Observer