‘Flush’ is the biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel. This edition is richly illustrated by Katyuli with some 30 full page colour and black and white illustrations. These were short-listed for the V&A illustration Awards. It also includes a Preface by John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus at UCL and an Afterword by Lalya Lloyd on Sisters and Creativity.
In clear, fast and vivid prose, we follow Flush on his adventures from the bucolic Berkshire countryside, to the grand houses of Wimpole Street and Dickensian dog-nappers of the East End. After his rescue, and as party to the clandestine elopement of Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Flush bounds into the heat, colours and scents of Florence.
Critics have argued for decades over their interpretation of the pseudo-biography Flush. Is the spaniel Flush a would-be emancipated woman yearning to be free of the shackles of domestication? Or is it a veiled analogy of the love triangle between Vanessa, Virginia and Clive?
If nothing else, it is a colourful and atmospheric account of a lost age, the end of the Grand Tour; a witty and ribald exploration of love and loss of innocence; and in Flush’s liberation we see a new world heralded, in which the societal pressures of the Victorian era begin to melt away.