Big welcome today to my friend Janet Mullany! Today is Lord Byron's birthday, and there's no one in the world better suited to talking about Lord Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know himself!
Janet writes some wonderfully wild, spicy stuff that has turned the Regency genre on its ear. I myself warned her multiple heroes and menages would be a hard as Regencies. But did she listen to me? Noooo, she went out and sold them anyway. So I made up a "book cover" title just for Janet and her mad-bad hero, in her honor.
Janet’s next book, a sort-of sequel to her 2007 The Rules of Gentility, is A Most Lamentable Comedy, August 2009. She’s also blogging today at
(And apologies to all for lateness and non-working links. Blogger will not let me post some URLs. nor will it un-do them. )
Since I'm running so late, I'm putting all the picture credits here to save time:
Miniature portrait of Byron was his favorite, painted in 1815 by James Holmes and given to his half-sister who later gave it to Byron's Italian mistress.
Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun painted the teenage Byron in 1805 when she visited
Richard Westall's portrait of Byron.
Augusta Leigh by James Holm.
Lady Caroline Lamb by Thomas Phillips.
I want a hero is the first line of Byron's Don Juan, and so it seems doubly fitting to blog about him here--because this is a blog about heroes, and today is the birthday of the brilliant and scandalous Lord Byron, Mr. Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know himself (1788-1824).
I like to think of Byron as the dark twin of Mr. Darcy: whereas Darcy's greatest sin in the eyes of society was refusing to dance at a country assembly, Byron went the whole hog. Was he bisexual? Did he really have an affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh? Was he really as shocking as the rumors and his letters suggest?
At any rate, the concept of the Byronic hero—aristocratic, brooding, scandalous, the man who cannot be tamed and whose deep psychic wound can be healed only by true love—is alive and well in romance.
He inspired Lady Caroline Lamb, with whom he had a very public and tempestuous affair to write at their first meeting, That beautiful pale face is my fate. At the end of the affair, however, she anticipated Dorothy Parker’s mantra of writing well as the best revenge—or at least writing and telling all—by publishing a novel abo
I read” Glenarvon,” too, by Caro Lamb;
(It's possible, by the way, that the Mad, Bad etc. epithet was first used by Byron, not about him, to describe Lady Caroline.)
Of the many resources online on Byron, my favorite is this one, http://englishhistory.net/byron.html for which I’m indebted to the illustrations and much of the material, and the terrific collecti
on of paintings by Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun at www.batguano.com/vigee.htm
You can spend a lot of time reading about Byron, but read him, too. He’s
well worth it, ribald, romantic, moving.
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes…
And if you’d like to read some wonderful fiction about Byron and his circle I suggest Passion by Jude Morgan.
Thanks for having me visit, Delle!