ANNE AMISON has written a fascinating book about Lord Byron’s travels to Venice and his time in the magical city. She has discovered much original material to shed new light on the English Milord, and the city as he found it in 1816.
On November 10th, 1816, Lord Byron arrived in Venice for the first time. What was he doing in this remarkable city? What had made him travel across Europe in the turbulent times after the fall of Napoleon? And when he arrived in Venice, what did he find?
Find out in this splendid account of Byron’s life in Switzerland and Italy, mainly Venice. I knew nothing about Byron and the author has done excellent research and then written the story in a really accessible and amusing way. As I was also reading (another) history of Italy and had just covered the same early 19th period, it gave it extra interest.
Amison recounts Byron’s relationship with his wife (turbulent), with the Shelleys, with Claire, his 18 year-old ‘stalker’ and mother of one of his daughters, with his Venetian lover and landlady, with Venetian high society, and the ‘cavaliere servente’ or Cisibeo system of lovers so well described in Goldoni plays.
Finally, Byron joins the Carbonari, falls in love with Teresa Guiccioli from Ravenna and, rather frustratingly, there we leave him, packing to move on, to his death in Greece. The last chapters are about Byron fans visiting Venice in his footsteps, particularly Disraeli, Turner, Ruskin & Morris. It’s an excellent narrative filled with of fascinating details.
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