From the Blurb: Against the tumultuous background of Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century-political revolution and social upheaval-this beguiling biography presents the young Polish genius (and patriot) who arrived in Paris in 1831, at the age of twenty-one, and was instantly acclaimed and accepted by its circle of brilliant artists, poets and aristocrats. The tide of Romanticism was at its height-in literature, painting, manners and morals. The mistresses of great men were hardly less famous than their lovers, and extravagance was-in that segment of society-the order of the day. Despite his ingrained reserve and conservatism, Chopin quickly absorbed the tastes of his new intimates. And a notable crew they were: Delacroix, Heine, Liszt, the superb Pauline Viardot-Turgenev's muse-and the resident Polish grandees. The beautiful wife of one expatriate nobleman, Delfina Potocka, became a pupil of Chopin's not long after he settled in Paris, and a newly discovered batch of letters to her-startlingly explicit in their eroticism-reveal unsuspected details about their relationship. Then came the nine years with George Sand-in Paris, Nohant, Majorca and Nohant again-years of marvelous creativity in Chopin's life but also the period when the onslaughts of tuberculosis, of which he was to die at the age of thirty-nine, first became menacing, exacerbated by the mounting tensions between the two lovers. Marek writes absorbingly of Chopin's relationships with Sand's son and daughter, with her former lovers, her friends and competitors-all of whom, like true Romantics, poured out their feelings in letters to (and about) one another. Chopin's last years, after his break with Sand, were marked by worsening health and increasing fame. But he was sustained by the unfailing tenderness of his friends, who outdid one another to protect, divert, and console him. And the drama of his life did not end with his death. The subsequent fate of his manuscripts, possessions and -specifically-George Sand's letters to him provide a tragicomic epilogue to the turbulent story.