A well-written 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 am also reading (another) history of Italy and had just covered the same early 19th century period, it gave it extra interest.
She recounts his relationship with his wife (terrible), with the Shelleys, with Claire, his 18 year-old ‘stalker’ and mother of one of his daughters, his Venetian lover and landlady, Venetian high society and the ‘cavaliere servente’ or Cisibeo system of lovers so well described in Goldoni plays.
Finally he 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. An excellent narrative with loads of fascinating details.