Jeoffry the Poet’s Cat

Oliver Soden

Read by Stephen Fry, Oliver Soden

Spiracle Audiobooks & The History Press


Extent: 3:08:00

Audiobook ISBN: SPI-E-HIS-00001

RRP: £12

Publication date: 1 December 2023


Inspired and original – Hilary Mantel

“For I will consider my cat Jeoffry” begins a much-loved section of Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno. Jeoffry was a real cat who lived 250 years ago, confined to an asylum with Christopher Smart, one of the most visionary poets of the age. In exchange for love and companionship, Smart rewarded Jeoffry with the greatest tribute to a feline ever written.

This book combines meticulous research with passages of dazzling invention to recount the life of the cat that has been praised as “a mixture of gravity and waggery”. The narrative roams from the theatres and bordellos of Covent Garden to the cell where Smart was imprisoned for mania. At once whimsical and profound, witty and deeply moving, Soden’s biography plays with the genre like a cat with a toy. It tells the story of a poet and a poem, while setting Jeoffry’s life and adventures against the roaring backdrop of eighteenth-century London. Through Jeoffry, we meet not just Smart, but Oliver Goldsmith, Samuel Johnson, Fanny Burney and the most famous actor of the age, David Garrick.

Co-published with The History Press