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.
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.