One was the mother who bore him; three were women who adored him; one was the sister he slept with; one was his abused and sodomized wife; one was his legitimate daughter; one was the fruit of his incest; another was his friend Shelley's wife, who avoided his bed and invented science fiction instead. Nine women; one poet named George Gordon, Lord Byron - mad, bad and very very dangerous to know. The most flamboyant of the Romantics, he wrote literary bestsellers, he was a satirist of genius, he embodied the Romantic love of liberty (the Greeks revere him as a national hero), he was the prototype of the modern celebrity - and he treated women (and these women in particular) abominably. In BYRON AND HIS WOMAN, Alex Larman tells their extraordinary, moving and often shocking stories. In so doing, he creates a scurrilous 'anti-biography' of one of England's greatest poets, whose life is views - to deeply unflattering effect - through the prism of the nine damaged woman's lives.
'Normally I don't like modish reassessments of literary legends ... however, Byron's Women is different. It isn't a tiresome feminist rant ... it is humane and brooks no balderdash. This radical questioning of the conventional swashbuckling Byronic stance is convincing' The Times. 'Larman's stagey indignation has an undeniable draw. He is a busy and loquacious guide who palpably enjoys his job' Sunday Telegraph. 'Through deft and witty touches, Larman irradiates the darkness of Byron's fascination' Mail on Sunday. 'Larman gives his coterie "the dignified and compassionate treatment they deserve" in a series of sympathetic biographical sketches' Literary Review. 'Larman has written a superbly researched, well-balanced and very readable account of the convoluted story, akin to a Georgian soap opera, and resisting what must have been an overwhelming temptation to condemn the selfish and deeply unpleasant man too much' The Bookbag. 'Will shock and perhaps delight the occasional reader' The Byron Abbey Newstead Society. 'A fresh and lively contribution to the crowded field of Byron studies, and confirms Larman as an insightful observer of the contradictory nature of his subjects' Bookmunch. 'This is no ordinary biography; through exploring the lives of the women in his life, we are offered an outline of Byron more accurate, compelling and candid than any portrait focused on his poetry could be' Observer.
Alexander Larman is a historian and journalist. He is the author of Blazing Star (2014), the life of Lord Rochester, and writes for the Observer, the Telegraph and the Guardian, as well as the New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement.