Lord Byron

 I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all

Byron’s reputation as a womanizer is well-known. He was a  free-spirited man whose personal life was filled with scandalous, salacious affairs.

In a Slate article Katha Pollitt writes: In his short life (1788-1824), George Gordon, Lord Byron, managed to cram in just about every sort of connection imaginable—unrequited pinings galore; affairs with aristocrats, actresses, servants, landladies, worshipful fans, and more in almost as many countries as appear on Don Giovanni’s list; plus countless one-offs with prostitutes and purchased girls; a brief, disastrous marriage; and an incestuous relationship with his half-sister. And that’s just the women!

 Edna O’Brien‘s biography of Byron – aptly titled Byron in Love – reveals his multiple romantic and sexual relationships which nourished his poetry. 

 His masterpiece was his satirical epic poem Don Juan in which he reverses the roles of man as seducer to man being seduced by women. In this way, I think his Don Juan would make a great character in a Chandler, Hammett or Dorothy Hughes novel.

Lady Caroline Lamb, one of many of Byron’s lovers and a novelist herself, described Byron as being “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” A true Homme Fatale.   

Lord Byron

Photographer: Eamonn McCabe

 Have a listen to his famous poem She Walks In Beauty and see why hundreds of women of the time were as obsessed with him as if he were a rock star.

38 thoughts on “Lord Byron

  1. Wow. I love his work, and I was oblivious to his private life. It’s very interesting, and now knowing this, I may have a fuller understanding of his works. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Sounds like he was the Sting of his day…. talk about using his life as art. Your post makes him seem so accessible and relevant today rather than old school. I enjoyed encountering him through this lens.

    • The research I did on him showed him as having hundreds of fans obsessed over him. Who would obsess over a poet these days? Although some rock stars do have lots of romantic lyrics in their songs. Maybe they’re all trying to be a Byronic Hero.
      Thanks, Diahann, for stopping by and commenting. Have a wonderful weekend. :)

    • He certainly was. At one point he fled to Greece to escape all the backlash he was getting regarding an incestuous relationship. But, if you read about his early life, he was sexually abused as a child. This seems to be such common causes of later sexual dysfunction.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great weekend. :)

  3. What an amazing life he had, thanks for sharing this info. As regarding his opening quote, it’s quite revealing as to how he viewed the ‘love affair’ as more intense and rewarding than the concept of ‘marriage’ which for him defeats it.

    • Very funny. One interesting fact I didn’t mention in my post is that Byron was the father of Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace who was a brilliant mathematician and is known to be the world’s first computer programmer. Byron separated from Ada’s mother and so Ada never met her father. Anyway, there’s lots of juicy stories around Byron’s love life. Have a Wonderful Mother’s Day. :)

  4. Once again, I must investigate. I read the entire piece on the link you posted. It didn’t mention anything about his sexual abuse. Or I have totally missed that piece. I will search further. You are such a treat, Carol. I never am completely happy just knowing. I have to dig deeper. Now you know why I don’t get my reading in as I should. Thanks so much for sharing. Your bud!

    • Oh, Drew, I am so happy that you enjoyed my post. I might not have linked on Byron’s sexual abuse. Here’s from Edna O’Brien’s biography of Byron:
      He was cared for by a nurse who sexually abused him. By the time he became the sixth Lord Byron at the age of 10, he was disturbed and disturbing, and doomed as an adult to indulge in destructive sexual relationships with members of both sexes (including his half-sister, Augusta Leigh) which were to make him as infamous and vilified as his poetry.
      You might also be interested in this link:

      http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/lovelace.html

      Anyway, his is a fascinating love life.

      Have a Blessed Mother’s Day! :)

      • Thank you Carol. The link I listened to was very discreet about the nurse abusing him. So I thought, rather than search and search, I just wanted to get right to it.
        His love life but have been fascinating to some, but he seemed never happy. Always searching but never at peace. Very sad in my eyes and to die so young. But one thing he achieved through all his up’s and down’s, was a voice. I will look at the link you provided. Thank you so very much, Carol. You have a blessed Mother’s Day as well. Hugs!

  5. I watched an entire five-part documentary and there was no mention of childhood abuse. Then I began to listen to a forty-five minute piece, and there was mention of his father’s leaving and that his nurse possibly sexually abused him. But it was stated just ‘possibly’. I was wondering Carol if you could point to the article or whatever, so that I can find closure with Lord Byron?

  6. I like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler mysteries. I also am a big fan of the early Robert Parker books. I believe that the characters in those books did have a bit of Don Juan in them! I like poetry from experiences and never really thought about what the biography of Lord Byron would include. I appreciated your filling us in on these affairs and (‘mad’) eccentricities! Smiles, Robin

    • Mad is the right word for Byron. He was over the top in his affairs with women (and sometimes men as well). I never read any Robert Parker. I’m happy that you picked up on my wink to Chandler and Hammett.
      It’s interesting that nobody yet commented on his desk. To me it said that you don’t need much to write brilliantly.
      Thanks for reading. :)

  7. I think Margot’s comment sums it up nicely: ‘Those dangerous, passionate types! And he could write, too!’ Also thanks for the reference to the interesting Slate and Lady Caroline articles.
    But especially for the shout-out to Hammett, Chandler and Hughes. I can’t recall a Don Juan character in any of their novels, though Spade and Marlowe encounter their share of femmes fatales!

    • Welcome to my blog.
      Byron was a true romantic and no other poet has the honor of having his name associated with passion and romance ie, a Byronic affair.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

  8. Know I am late to the party on this, but it’s good stuff. My husband is a history buff and would find this most intriguing. Thanks for posting, Carol!

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