13 January 2012

Byron; Fiona MacCarthy

Byron: Life and LegendByron: Life and Legend by Fiona MacCarthy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew!  It's a good biography, but honestly - 8pt font?  For 600 pages???  I deserve a medal for finishing!! 

Since reading The White Devil a year ago I'd wanted to know more about the Mad, Bad Lord and this bio is definitely "more".  The author goes over his life in great detail (mostly) and has had access to papers and letters that previous biographers haven't been able to use.  She dissects the questions of his lameness (right foot? left foot? club foot? polio?), his sexuality, his education, his poetry, his relationships with friends, his health (and odd diet) and finally his involvement with the Greek independence movement to great effect; why the dissolution of his marriage and how that affected his reputation is given a mere 40 pages while his last year is given more space is a huge question.  Still, if you want to learn more about him, this is probably a good place to start.

Hence the four stars: physically difficult to read and a major part of his life semi-glossed over.

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