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Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816
by David Ellis
In 1816, following the scandalous collapse of his marriage, Lord Byron left England forever. His first destination was the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, where he stayed with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Godwin, Claire Clairmont, and John Polidori. Byron in Geneva focuses sharply on the poet’s life in the summer of that year, a famous time for meteorologists—for whom 1816 is ...more
Hardcover, 189 pages
Published June 15th 2011 by Liverpool University Press
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david ellis decided that the reason byron's biographers have, in the past, been occasionally inconsistent is because they have tried to take on too much at once. too rich and full of a life makes for misunderstandings and poor scans of cause and effect. so his idea was to just write about that one summer (you know which one i'm talking about - the frankenstein summer), but pick it apart into little tiny pieces. but i still feel somehow that it was all just revisiting material i already know. hav ...more
The downfall of the genre of biography is that far too often the writer becomes enamored of the secondary (and sometimes even the tertiary) figures in the subject's life. Ellis' book starts of quite strong by staying quite steady on Byron and the Shelleys. However, part two devolves in to an endless litany of minor characters and how they came to be in Geneva that summer. The book gets mired in the minutiae of who called whom what. Worse, the Villa Diodati storytelling episode, arguably one of t ...more
David Ellis was born in Lancashire, educated at Downing College Cambridge, and is emeritus professor of English Literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury. During his teaching career he has spent considerable periods in France, Italy, Australia and the United States. In the academic year 1991-2, he was an Andrew Mellon Fellow at the National Humanities Research Center in North Carolina and ...moreMore about David Ellis...