Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dear Lord Byron...

Dear Lord Byron...

Having been working my way through Four Chords, not to mention a collection of trashy magazines, I've settled in to reading Byron: Life and Legend at a relaxing pace. Because Byron isn't someone you can rush. He needs to take his time and be given focus or he'll get grumpy and you'll lose track of which servant/married woman/boy he's shagging at any given point. And once you've lost track there is no hope for recovery - you know that the numbers are too big to ever get on top of - so to speak - ever again.

If the book is doing nothing but confirming my love affair with a man who has been dead for going on two hundred years then it's also got me thinking. Not about his work, which I've thought about rather too much if the truth be told, but about his status. And I'm absolutely fascinated by the number of women who read his poetry and then wrote fan letters to him. It's astounding how many there were - all those Regency women doing something that seems incredibly 'modern'. And the letters are fascinating in their own right - not only in how they talk of Byron, but in what they reveal about all these forgotten women. Some of them give snippets of their lives, some even include their own poetry, inspired as they were to write it. Some see themselves as the people in Byron's poetry, some claim to be able to understand Byron as no one else can. Most of all they tell of secret internal lives - lives and thoughts clearly hidden away and expressed to no one other than a man whom most would never come into contact with other than through the words on a printed page.

And this all got me thinking about all of these stories, all of these women who were probably not that different - in essentials - to you or I. And if some day I'd love to write on the Byron Myth I'd also like to know more about these women. I'd like to be able to read more of their letters.

A collection entitled "Dear Lord Byron..." anyone?

2 comments:

Val said...

I just wanted to say I'm loving the 'Icons' list :-)

Jude said...

It's probably just as well he never did a Radio Tour....