The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria
by Christopher McIntosh
(London: I.B. Tauris, 2012)
"The Swan King" is the biography of one of the most enigmatic figures of the 19th century, described by Verlaine as 'the only true king of his century'. A man of wildly eccentric temperament and touched by a rare, imaginative genius, Ludwig II of Bavaria is remembered both for his patronage of Richard Wagner and for the fabulous palaces which he created as part of a dream-world to escape the responsibilities of state. In realization of his fantasies, he created a ferment of creativity among artists and craftsmen, while his neglect of Bavaria's political interests made powerful enemies among those critical of his self-indulgence and excesses. At the age of 40, declared insane in a plot to depose him, Ludwig died in mysterious circumstances.