Byromania: Portraits Of The Artist In Nineteenth And Twentieth Century Culture by Frances Wilson
My rating: 4/5 cats
THIS BOOK IS OFFICIALLY OFF MY “BUY FOR ME THANKS” SHELF BECAUSE JEN FISHER IS AN ABSOLUTE ANGEL OF BIRTHDAY PACKAGES AND OH MY GOD I AM ALL TEARY-EYED.
new part of “review:”
now that i have managed to get this from the old library, i am writing a proper review, so all you folks that voted on what was basically a plea for someone to spend money on me, i hope you still like it. and i still want someone to buy this for me, so save your pennies; get together and pool resources, sell some baked goods—whatever it takes, please.
before, i really wanted this book, and i didn’t even know what it was. i thought it was going to be about byron the first rock star, and kind of tracing him in a history of fame, frenzy of renown kind of way. it is actually a collection of essays by various people (including the man whose book i just trashed on the internet—oops) discussing various representations and “interpretations” of byron across time and medium. and it’s pretty great. even the essays that were not really related to byron as such, like the one on barbara cartland, were enjoyable.
the whole book really makes me rethink my fixation on the man. because i am guilty of being enamored of byron as symbol rather than byron as man or byron as poet. i’ve read the poetry, sure, i’ve read a play or two, and many of his collections of letters, which are of course, the best of all, but i can’t get away from admiring the aura as well as the flesh and blood. the legend is just so damn attractive. there are still cringe-worthy elements of his life, of course—the pet bear and the drinking from skulls, the forced melodrama for the goth kids…but oh, the star-crossed sister love, the burning of shelley’s body, the whole caro adventure. the man was a maniac, to be sure, but so fascinating and complicated. on one hand, this hedonistic whirlwind of excess, and on the other, the pleasure-denying anorexic. his self-obsession is understandable when you remember who his self actually was…endlessly changeable, endlessly interpretable. ah, byron, i always will admire thee.
oh and the best part: at the end, there are pages and pages of “byron in literature” and “byron in film” etc. now, every byron movie i have ever seen has been terrible (and to be fair, so have most of the books) but i still have a stack here to read, and this list just gives me more to acquire. i will be submerged in byron for a long time to come.
i want this book. but it is so so ‘spensive on the internet. if anyone has it, and wants to be nice, i will trade for it, buy it (for less than $100 please), or i can make cookies or sock monsters or…well that’s the range of my talents, but i’m open to learning new skills…thanks, bookowners…