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The Cambridge Companion to Byron

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  • Nancy Mayer
    The Cambridge Companion to Byron educated by Drummmond Bone, 2004 There are several essays in this book, under general subjects as Historical Contests,
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 2, 2008
      The Cambridge Companion to Byron educated by Drummmond Bone, 2004
      There are several essays in this book, under general subjects as Historical Contests, Textual Context.
      The Historical Context discusses Byron under the headings of "Byron's Life and Biographers," Byron and the Business of Publishing," Byron's Politics, and Byron: Gender and Sexuality.
      Paul Douglass who wrote a biography of lady Caroline Lamb wrote about Byron and his biographers.
      Andrew Elfenbein wrote on Byron:Gender and Sexuality, and Malcolm Kesall , Byron's Politics.
      I I found these chapters very interesting though I disagreed with some of the statements( you knew I would.)
      I did think that most of the authors rather accented the miserable life Lady Byron had without once suggesting that she might have made him miserable.
      I also disliked the easy acceptance as fact of points I do not think merit the title of fact.
      Douglas starts with the suggestion that Byron was constructing his own biography all along . He does not think much of some of the old biographers but praises the miserable Byron: The Flawed Angel ( Grosskurth), Eisler's Byron,,, The latest book mentioned is Macarthy's Byron: Life and Legend.
      These books present themselves as being more open and truthful , and discuss Byron as closet homosexual.
      I did not like the easy acceptance that Augusta committed incest . IN fact, most authors appear to be trying to prove how sophisticated and blasé they are about incest and homosexuality. NO explanation is given as to why Augusta would succumb nor proof given that she did.
      NO one seems to doubt Lady Byron's word, either about the incest or the cruelty and abuse she suffered during the year they lived together; and everyone seems quick to condemn Byron for Allegra's death, even saying she was left to be ill and cold and die at a convent. , The fact that she often was with Byron and played around with him and his menagerie, or that he was being quite generous to a illegitimate child is not mentioned.
      I also object to saying Byron was exiled to the continent. He could have returned to England at any time he wanted, he did not want to return.
      Now, while I do not fault Byron for Allegra's death ( how many children did the Shelleys lose?), in a way I do fault him for not being there for his legitimate daughter and abdicating his responsibilities as a peer.
      On the other hand-- being away from England seemed to stimulate Byron's creative force. I am not certain we would have had Don Juan if he had stayed home.
      he was a bright , peculiar star.
      Nancy

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Anne Mott
      Well put, Nancy. Anyone on Byron’s side doesn’t get invited to write an essay for the Cambridge Companion. There is a lot of need to be loved by their
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 7, 2008
        Well put, Nancy. Anyone on Byron’s side doesn’t get invited to write an
        essay for the Cambridge Companion.



        There is a lot of need to be loved by their peers among academics. Anyone
        who dares to step away from the approved “line” of thought is immediately
        scoffed at and shunned. Most people avoid such treatment. It’s even worse
        in the sciences where a person’s career can be destroyed by publishing
        something politically incorrect.



        Your comment that “most authors appear to be trying to prove how
        sophisticated and blasé they are about incest and homosexuality” is an
        excellent observation. Once a nasty piece of gossip escapes it takes on a
        life of its own. The fact that most of the gossip came from disaffected
        lovers, rebuffed hangers on, and an estranged wife is rarely explained or
        given due weight. That would be wimpy and old fashioned.



        Another truth is that “Byron scholars” enjoy the muck because it makes their
        favorite poet more newsworthy, fills their lecture halls, and enhances their
        book sales.



        I must admit, though, the gentlemen who did write are very nice in person
        and would probably give poor B the benefit of the doubt if they ran into him
        today at Cambridge.



        _____

        From: Byron@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Byron@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        Nancy Mayer
        Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 6:28 PM
        To: byron@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Byron] The Cambridge Companion to Byron



        The Cambridge Companion to Byron educated by Drummmond Bone, 2004
        There are several essays in this book, under general subjects as Historical
        Contests, Textual Context.
        The Historical Context discusses Byron under the headings of "Byron's Life
        and Biographers," Byron and the Business of Publishing," Byron's Politics,
        and Byron: Gender and Sexuality.
        Paul Douglass who wrote a biography of lady Caroline Lamb wrote about Byron
        and his biographers.
        Andrew Elfenbein wrote on Byron:Gender and Sexuality, and Malcolm Kesall ,
        Byron's Politics.
        I I found these chapters very interesting though I disagreed with some of
        the statements( you knew I would.)
        I did think that most of the authors rather accented the miserable life Lady
        Byron had without once suggesting that she might have made him miserable.
        I also disliked the easy acceptance as fact of points I do not think merit
        the title of fact.
        Douglas starts with the suggestion that Byron was constructing his own
        biography all along . He does not think much of some of the old biographers
        but praises the miserable Byron: The Flawed Angel ( Grosskurth), Eisler's
        Byron,,, The latest book mentioned is Macarthy's Byron: Life and Legend.
        These books present themselves as being more open and truthful , and discuss
        Byron as closet homosexual.
        I did not like the easy acceptance that Augusta committed incest . IN fact,
        most authors appear to be trying to prove how sophisticated and blasé they
        are about incest and homosexuality. NO explanation is given as to why
        Augusta would succumb nor proof given that she did.
        NO one seems to doubt Lady Byron's word, either about the incest or the
        cruelty and abuse she suffered during the year they lived together; and
        everyone seems quick to condemn Byron for Allegra's death, even saying she
        was left to be ill and cold and die at a convent. , The fact that she often
        was with Byron and played around with him and his menagerie, or that he was
        being quite generous to a illegitimate child is not mentioned.
        I also object to saying Byron was exiled to the continent. He could have
        returned to England at any time he wanted, he did not want to return.
        Now, while I do not fault Byron for Allegra's death ( how many children did
        the Shelleys lose?), in a way I do fault him for not being there for his
        legitimate daughter and abdicating his responsibilities as a peer.
        On the other hand-- being away from England seemed to stimulate Byron's
        creative force. I am not certain we would have had Don Juan if he had stayed
        home.
        he was a bright , peculiar star.
        Nancy

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • nmayer@bellsouth.net
        Have the letters of Augusta ( what remains of them) been published anywhere? Many people have expressed the opinion that the destruction of Augusta s letters
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 8, 2008
          Have the letters of Augusta ( what remains of them) been published anywhere?
          Many people have expressed the opinion that the destruction of Augusta's letters shows that they must have been steamy and dangerous. People also say that the destruction of Jane Austen's letters must mean that the family felt there was something to hide when it probably was just automatic. Whether Jane Austen's letters or Augusta Leigh's letters the destruction probably had more to do with common practice than the desire to hide any secrets. People knew Byron was famous before he died and knew that there was an interest in his life and thoughts. No one really thought that about Augusta or Jane Austen.
          ------------
          Some of the so called proofs of incest are either false or ambiguous. Citing the name Medora as a proof is a very slender reed on which to base a case especially as the calims for it being a pretty name and the name of a horse connected to Augusta's family are bothas strong
          Citing the comment in the letter "it is nothing like an ape", is an even weaker reed. That letter was two weeks after his return from seeing Augusta and the baby. In deed, the letter on his return was in the beginning of the month making it much more likely that the baby was born in March and that Augusta was pregnant when she went to Town to borrow money and get a position with the queen.
          Also disturbing is the total lack of consideration that the baby was lwigh's. The critics were blinded by Lady Byron's allegations. Lady Byron put forth the appearance of a proper Victorian matron with interests in church and educating the poor. Augusta's life was disorganized, her children were not disciplined and her finances were in shambles. Why is Colonel Leigh never blamed for these things? Why is Augusta described as amoral or at least a sloppy housekeeper ( which meant she must have bad morals) when all her friends and other relatives describe her as shy and religious, if disorganized and unable to discipline her children alone?
          Why are so many willing to damn and condemn Augusta without any proof except the imagination and jealousy of Lady Byron?
          One writer( can't remember which) did wonder if Annabelle was not sexually attracted to Augusta and struck out in frustration at her more than at the husband she had left so many years before.
          Nancy


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Anne Mott
          You asked: Have the letters of Augusta (what remains of them) been published anywhere? Good question. I have never heard of a collection, but there are quotes
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 8, 2008
            You asked:



            Have the letters of Augusta (what remains of them) been published anywhere?



            Good question. I have never heard of a collection, but there are quotes
            from lots of her letters in Elwin's "Lord Byron's Wife", so they must be
            somewhere. Many of them were kept by Annabella and some by Francis Hodgson.



            However, the urge to burn letters was widespread. In fact, Byron is rather
            odd, not only keeping letters he received but sometimes copies of his own.



            My Mother, an otherwise modern and reasonable 20th century person, was
            outraged at the thought of anyone reading a "private" letter, and was
            extremely suspicious of genealogical research as it might display
            "unpleasant" facts about the family. One such unpleasantness was that an
            uncle of hers committed suicide - everyone supported the fantasy that it was
            an accident. Mental illness was another shame to be hidden and illegitimacy
            so horrifying that a fallen female would be shunned by the whole family.
            There was never any blame on the father of unexpected children - men had
            "needs" and girls had to keep their legs crossed.



            I agree about the inexplicable lack of interest in Colonel Leigh. He was
            their cousin after all, and a bad lot, if what we do know about him is
            trustworthy. He was a rake, a gambler and apparently an embezzler. He was
            a good father to Georgina when she had the problems with her husband,
            Trevanian, (another cousin) when he ran off with Libby (Medora) whom he had
            impregnated. What a family!!!



            Why is Augusta criticized for scrambling to get funds for her family? At
            least she tried.



            I think it's the old "mercenary" prejudice. You can't go into trade, so
            after you hock all the family treasures you had better just go away and stop
            embarrassing everyone.


            ,_._,___



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Nancy Mayer
            The Englishman: A Novel ... By Medora Gordon Byron according to the title page of this book it was published in 1812. The name was out there. Nancy to hear a
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 13, 2008
              The Englishman: A Novel ...
              By Medora Gordon Byron

              according to the title page of this book it was published in 1812.
              The name was out there.
              Nancy

              to hear a discussion of the poem
              http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4487368

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Nancy Mayer
              Much has been made of the fact that Augusta named her daughter, born in 1814, Medora. It was considered sinister that that was the name of one of Byron s
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 15, 2010
                Much has been made of the fact that Augusta named her daughter, born in 1814, Medora. It was considered sinister that that was the name of one of Byron's heroine's .
                I have also found proof that the name was the name of a race horse with connections to the family. Now it seems there was an author named Medora Gordon Byron who published a book in 1812.
                She had published previous novels titled The Englishwoman,Hours of Affluence and days of Indigence, Modern Villa and Ancient castle, &c &c. These were published by the Minerva Press.
                I think that disposes of the name as a red flag.

                The Englishman: A novel ...
                By Medora Gordon Byron
                Nancy Mayer
                http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher/

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Anne Mott
                This is intriguing - who in heaven is she? Some sort of distant relative? Are you sure it was 1812? Was she using the name? Where did you find this
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 16, 2010
                  This is intriguing - who in heaven is she? Some sort of distant relative?
                  Are you sure it was 1812? Was she "using" the name? Where did you find this
                  information?



                  Anne



                  From: Byron@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Byron@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  Nancy Mayer
                  Sent: November-15-10 2:28 PM
                  To: Byron@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [Byron] Medora Gordon Byron





                  Much has been made of the fact that Augusta named her daughter, born in
                  1814, Medora. It was considered sinister that that was the name of one of
                  Byron's heroine's .
                  I have also found proof that the name was the name of a race horse with
                  connections to the family. Now it seems there was an author named Medora
                  Gordon Byron who published a book in 1812.
                  She had published previous novels titled The Englishwoman,Hours of Affluence
                  and days of Indigence, Modern Villa and Ancient castle, &c &c. These were
                  published by the Minerva Press.
                  I think that disposes of the name as a red flag.

                  The Englishman: A novel ...
                  By Medora Gordon Byron
                  Nancy Mayer
                  http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher/

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Nancy Mayer
                  I found the book on Google books and looked at the front page . The front page says 1812 and Minerva press. I came across it by accident as I was searching for
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 16, 2010
                    I found the book on Google books and looked at the front page . The front page says 1812 and Minerva press.
                    I came across it by accident as I was searching for something else.
                    Nancy Mayer
                    http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher/

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Nancy Mayer
                    Medora Gordon Byron, whose identity is still a mystery, published probably nine early-nineteenth-century novels with the Minerva Press. Her fiction is
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 16, 2010
                      Medora Gordon Byron, whose identity is still a mystery, published probably nine early-nineteenth-century novels with the Minerva Press. Her fiction is exclamatory in style, interested in domesticity, and latterly in the unmarried (both men and women), given sometimes to commentary on novel-writing. The play and poem ascribed to someone of this name are almost certainly not by the same person.
                      http://orlando.cambridge.org/public/svPeople?person_id=byrome

                      Nancy Mayer
                      http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher/

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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