Byron: A Life in Ten Letters (Hardback)
  • Byron: A Life in Ten Letters (Hardback)
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Byron: A Life in Ten Letters (Hardback)

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Hardback 300 Pages
Published: 22/02/2024
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Waterstones Says

Stauffer's immersive volume takes some of Lord Byron's most thrilling and resonant correspondence to examine the idiosyncratic, scandal-filled life and creative brilliance of the great Romantic poet.

Lord Byron was the most celebrated of all the Romantic poets. Troubled, handsome, sexually fluid, disabled, and transgressive, he wrote his way to international fame – and scandal – before finding a kind of redemption in the Greek Revolution. He also left behind the vast trove of thrilling letters (to friends, relatives, lovers, and more) that form the core of this remarkable biography.

Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Byron's death, and adopting a fresh approach, it explores his life and work through some of his best, most resonant correspondence. Each chapter opens with Byron's own voice – as if we have opened a letter from the poet himself – followed by a vivid account of the emotions and experiences that missive touches. This gripping life traces the meteoric trajectory of a poet whose brilliance shook the world and whose legacy continues to shape art and culture to this day.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781009200165
Number of pages: 300
Weight: 800 g
Dimensions: 224 x 149 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'This new biography of Byron is a miracle of condensation; by putting the letters centre-stage, Professor Stauffer manages to let his subject speak for himself in all the contradictory range of his moods and circumstances – at the same time as elegantly and unobtrusively shaping a narrative that leaps off the page.' Roderick Beaton, Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek & Byzantine History, Language & Literature, King's College London

'This is the best short introduction to Byron available. Stauffer steers us through a tumultuous life with poise and expert authority. The letters provide vivid snapshots of Byron at key moments across three decades and the biography that emerges is deeply absorbing.' Jane Stabler, Professor of Romantic Literature, University of St Andrews

'We have had many flings at a 'Life of Byron', all of them more or less successful because all of them failing to hand over a dead man to us. This little book is as good as such a venture gets because it puts front and center what Shelley might have called the Life of the Life of Byron: his very self and voice in ten remarkable letters. They sketch the story of a life whose riches taught him poverty. 'I have spent my life both interest and principal,/ And deem not, what I deem'd, my soul invincible'. A mortal life well spent.' Jerome McGann, Emeritus University Professor, University of Virginia

'Framed around ten of Byron's most intriguing letters, Stauffer's lively narrative never loses sight of the poetry, reminding the reader of Byron's prodigious output even amidst the chaos of his domestic life. With many insightful observations on Byron's conduct, Stauffer does not hesitate to criticise when criticism is justified but prefers to see in Byron not so much contradiction or hypocrisy but rather a synthesis of the light and dark sides of his nature, of the serious and the comic, of the ironic and the heartfelt. A delightful read.' Robert James Byron - 13th Baron Byron

'Andrew Stauffer offers a fresh and intimate take on a prolific and notoriously ungovernable subject, through a handful of letters judiciously selected from over three thousand. Building on the poet's own voice, Stauffer beautifully evokes his world from Regency high society to the sordid whirl of Venice and political turmoil in Greece. Compelling, charming, and pleasingly scandal-packed – this is Byron, brilliantly distilled.' Emily Brand, Author of The Fall of the House of Byron

'This scintillating study…vividly brings the poet to life…This stands out in the crowded field of Byron biographies.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

'Ingenious … this devilishly readable book brings Regency England and Napoleonic Europe to howling life and pulls its disgraceful but irresistible subject into dazzling focus.' John Walsh, The Sunday Times

'Immediately valuable … its mosaic structure deftly deals with Byron's evolutions.' Camille Ralphs, The Sunday Telegraph

'… so many of Byron's personal landscapes are brought alive here with energy and sureness of touch.' Rowan Williams, New Statesman

'Stauffer traces the poet's tumultuous life through some of the most remarkable missives in the English language.' The Spectator

'Lively and well illustrated … Stauffer's compendium abounds in vital force … it is also chock-full of … downright depravity … [a] crowded and entertaining chronicle' D. J. Taylor, The Wall Street Journal

'Stauffer's book is a splendid thing, colourful and busy with incident, but always thoughtful and astute in its judgments.' John Banville, The Guardian

'Byron: A Life in Ten Letters … is a compact biography, elegantly structured … Each letter affords Stauffer a chance for a ruminative riff on … Byron's history' Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

'Stauffer fully succeeds in showing Byron's mastery of letter-writing as a literary art in itself.' Jenny McAulay, The Irish Times

'Part of A Life in Ten Letters considerable charm lies in the fact that Stauffer is, for the most part, prepared to let Byron be Byron.' Private Eye

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