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Byron in Love

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  475 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
'Byron in Love' - the nobility, arrogance, and sheer theatre of Byron's life. Edna O'Brien focuses on the diverse and colourful women in Byron's life. Its narrative core is the triangular relationship between him, his wife and his half-sister that brought him timeless notoriety
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Weidenfeld & Nicholson
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What was it about Lord Byron that made women swoon and fall into his arms? What was it that caused all the drama and histrionics when he moved on as he invariably did? This book catalogues some of the many toxic relationships that Byron became embroiled in during his short life (36 years). Besides the many damsels he distressed there was also much collateral damage in the form of offspring and irate husbands. He was cruel, debauched, eccentric and erratic, but also brilliant. He was the source o ...more
Nov 05, 2009 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
byron is just not that into you. it doesnt matter what you do - hes just not that into you. he might put his baby in you, but he will leave you as soon as you start going into labor and return later only to shoot bottles in your living room while you strain and bleed to produce a creature he will hardly look at. because he is not into you. he will allow you to risk your life by being his mistress while your husband who has already buried two wives under suspicious circumstances fumes and observe ...more
Leanne (Booksandbabble)
This book is not only about the many, many loves of Byron's life but his rise from his humble beginnings to his inheriting his title and crumbling estate. We witness the awful relationship he had with his mother and his first ventures into the world of writing and poetry. From a young age Bryon had the makings of deeply troubled, yet brilliant man; he was passionate, haughty, arrogant and temperamental. O' Brien notes how he sought to repress his internal, emotional wounds through love, poetry a ...more
Apr 05, 2014 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Óptimo pretexto para conhecer a personalidade complexa, voraz, brutal, excessiva, obscura e muitas vezes cruel de um dos maiores vultos da literatura mundial.

Edna O'Brien é mestre na separação entre realidade e lenda, baseando a obra na vasta troca de correspondência entre Byron e aqueles com quem se relacionou ou em relatos a seu respeito por parte dos que lhe eram mais próximos.

Mas por incrível que pareça, não poucas vezes a lenda coincide com a realidade, e confirmo que o carácter magnetizan
Jennifer D. Munro
Nov 13, 2010 Jennifer D. Munro rated it it was ok
A great book for its brevity and a quick overview of Byron's life, but truly one of the worst edited books I have read. In parts of it, I could actually hear the author typing her rough draft notes into the computer--the prose suddenly fell into present tense fragments (and if it was a stylistic choice rather than poor editing, it didn't work for me). Gross mistakes--referring to one character as a cousin on one page and as a nephew later on (I admit, it's hard to keep track of these Byrons, sin ...more
Sep 14, 2009 Christia rated it liked it
Until I read O’Brien’s biography, I really didn’t know much about Byron, other than some of his better known poems (She Walks in Beauty is one of my favorites) and his bad boy reputation, but he is a literary figure that I’ve always been interested in, mainly because of his legendary larger than life image. Although apparently Carolyn Lamb’s description of him as “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” is well known, I had not heard it. By the end of the book I realized it was also pretty darn accurat ...more
Orna Ross
This biography adds nothing to our knowledge of Lord Byron. With no bibliography or references, it falls short of contemporary academic practice -- which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if O'Brien had brought a novelist's insight and sensibility to the tale. Unfortunately, no.

I can see why O'Brien, the Irish high-queen of florid love, would be attracted to Byron - as man and as writer - and as she was restricting the work to an examination of his behaviour in love (and lust), I expected new
May 14, 2011 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edna O’Brien’s writing style perplexes me. I remember being mystified by it when I read her excellent novel House of Splendid Isolation . I felt this disconnect again while reading Byron in Love. I was impressed with the tightness of the plot and the lack of excess in her prose. The trade off is I tended to feel a bit detached and unemotional while reading this book. At times, Ms. O’Brien’s poise and restraint as a novelist unduly bridled the sauciness of Byron’s story.

When I read Ms. O’Brien,
Jim Coughenour
O'Brien streamlines the Faustian pandemonium of Byron's erotic and poetic life into a swift, sometimes moving, narrative. I've had Fiona MacCarthy's magisterial biography weighing down my nightstand for a couple months, but the print's too small for tired eyes. Then I found O'Brien's book in a used bookstore. Her account is convincing, if impossible – a larger than life genius, heartless, polysexual, extravagant, an Adonis with a clubfoot whose friends literally fought over pieces of his corpse. ...more
Jun 29, 2009 Andy rated it liked it
Lord Byron was a prolific poet, but perhaps his most lasting contribution to humankind is to demonstrate once and for all that hedonism really isn’t a particularly rewarding lifestyle. Well, sure, who hasn’t wanted to shoot pistols in the dining room and drink wine from human skulls, but thanks to Byron, we know better, don’t we? (O’Brien says that after Byron’s friend Percy Bysshe Shelley died in a sailing accident, his skull very narrowly avoided becoming part of Byron’s drinkware collection.) ...more
Whitney Milam
Jul 05, 2015 Whitney Milam rated it it was ok
Skip this and read Fiona MacCarthy's "Byron: Life and Legend" & Daisy Hay's "Young Romantics" instead - better (and better-written) biographies by far. This one was entertaining by default (it's impossible to write about Byron without being on some level entertaining), but no new info or insights here for anyone who already knows their Byron bio basics.
Feb 03, 2013 Tracy rated it did not like it
Shelves: reference
The way this book was written drove me nuts, and to eventually give up reading it altogether. The author should have left the flamboyant language to Byron.
Audacia Ray
Oh, Lord Byron. Sigh.

I was seriously obsessed with Byron, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley when I was in high school. Why yes, I've seen Gothic about a million times. Also, on my first solo trip to Europe, I visited some of their haunts in Switzerland & Italy, saw Keats' death mask, locks of their hair... I'm a nerd, I know.

There are a number of biographical tomes on Byron, and this is one of the most easily digestible ones. And that's not just because it is normal-book-sized inst
May 28, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
This book should have been really good - the author has a definite flair for the poetic and dramatic and I was rather engrossed by certain parts of this book as much as if it were a novel. It painted Byron in a more unpleasant light than in a tragic rockstar light - I had difficulty feeling sympathy for O'Brien's Byron. I kind of hated him, actually, but he appears to have largely deserved whatever censure and derision he incurred. What hindered the book's ultimate success for me was its lack of ...more
Wilkin Beall
Jan 31, 2015 Wilkin Beall rated it liked it
Honestly I can not explain why I read, willingly, books on Byron. Maybe it's to gather more proof that he was a detestable person. It certainly isn't because I enjoy his poetry which 200 years after it was written is virtually unreadable. Miss O'Brien I found annoying as well. Maybe I like being annoyed. O'Brien tells us that Byron had an aversion to scenery therefore preferring to travel at night. What human being has an aversion to scenery? He makes an exception, we are told, shipboard to step ...more
Feb 11, 2015 emma rated it it was ok
Considering what a colourful life Byron led, it must have taken some skill for Edna O'Brien to produce a book so abysmally dull. Disjointed sentences, (at times) pretentious language, and a switching back and forth between tenses that added nothing to the already irritating writing style. And then there's Byron himself, painted so atrociously that it's impossible to understand what on earth any of the women unfortunate enough to wind up in his bed saw in him. Due to it being mercifully short, th ...more
Apr 13, 2010 Iris rated it it was ok
This book was very dry and disappointing. I stuck with it because I was desperate to hear about the story behind "She Walks in Beauty," and when I finally got to that point in the book there was ONE sentence devoted to it. Soooo incredibly frustrating. The author went into great detail on boring topics, and quickly glossed over the more interesting ones. She also didn't include much of the actual poetry that Byron wrote. I didn't think this book would be an anthology, but I thought there would b ...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
Jan 28, 2011 Elizabeth Sulzby rated it really liked it
A very short, highly readable book about Lord Byron, largely drawn from letters and other contemporary records. The ending was a let-down because O'Brien had built such a strong picture of Byron's wild and destructive side. She had not built such a documentation of his writing, rather treating the reader as if s/he knew them well already. At the very ending, she sort of let the dichotomies "settle themselves." I still found this an excellent book. One part I would have rather have been expanded ...more
Jul 02, 2009 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, anglophilia
This was interesting and not overly generous with the adjectives. Spurred me on to add "Childe Harold" to my "to-read" list. Quite the physically-challenged, evil genius antihero thing going on...

I'd probably have gone on at least one date with Byron, considering some of the other characters I've dated. Byron couldn't have been worse than a one-balled dude on lithium. Heck, at least Byron would've probably written me a little poem...
Reads like a romp--a quick, breezy, torrid look at Byron's rather active love life. Don't read if you would like to hang onto a view of him as the dreamy romantic hero-poet, a cad maybe, but a dashing, charming, sensitive, misunderstood cad. He sounds here like someone you would totally hate if you knew him. However, I've said it before, I'll say it again: miserable and/or horrible people make for far more interesting biographies than happy, well-adjusted ones.
Aug 21, 2009 Alyce rated it it was ok
Edna O'Brien should be congratulated for boring us to tears with the story of such a fascinating life. In the right hands this would have been an amazingly delightful romp. A critique of her run-on sentences would be longer than the book, albeit more interesting.
Aug 10, 2009 e.a. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave up on this book. I will tell you why with a joyously annoyed review when I have the emotional energy for it.

The short of it is: what a petty, shallow gesture of exploration of a person who did not need to seem even MORE petty and shallow.
Aug 21, 2009 Ohyassi rated it did not like it
It was boring, just a laundry list of affairs and debts. With bad grammar.
Antonio Gallo
Lord Byron poeta e puttaniere

Lord Byron: poeta e puttaniere. Quando si innamora un poeta le conseguenze possono essere drammatiche. Se il poeta poi è un inglese le cose sono destinate a complicarsi. Nel caso di Lord Byron le connessioni sono davvero infinite ed inimmaginabili: il soggetto conduce strani affari con aristocratiche gentildonne del tempo; mantiene relazioni con attrici e attricette, serve e servette; ammiratrici plagiate; prostitute d'accatto; una relazione incestuosa con la sorella
Jul 31, 2009 Maria rated it liked it
Edna O'Brien's biography of Lord Byron is the latest of many biographies on the poet. Her reason for bringing us yet one other biography of Byron is, in her words, "to follow him in his Rake's Progress and his "Poet's Progress, playing billiards in an English country house and passing clandestine notes to a young bride under the very watch of her pontifical husband, Sir Wederburn Webster, Byron reading Madame de Stael's 'Corinne' in the garden of his Italian mistress and writing her a love lette ...more
Kim Annabella
Feb 19, 2009 Kim Annabella rated it really liked it
The country girls author takes a look into the world of a rather gigantic poet.The word byronic, to this day conjures up sybaritic images of excess, a rebelliousness and a reluctance to answer to anyone.

Byron as a prototype existentialist y/y? In any case I would have loved to be around for some of his more debauched moments.


Here is a description of a get together not long after he moved into his ancestral seat, the gothic newstead abbey.

"Be mindful to go there in broad daylight and with your
Oct 17, 2012 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
This was an interesting and brief biography. I grabbed it because I have a huge interest in this part of time: authors and the very important people in general are awesome.

I found that I don't like Byron the man at all. He was cowardly, abusive, incestuous, uncaring and unfeeling. He only realized what he should have done with a lot of the people in his life after they died, which makes it look like he really didn't care anyway.

The writer, Edna O'Brien, was kind of annoyingly snobbish with her
Aug 30, 2012 Booknblues rated it really liked it
Byron, a rock star of the early 19th century was simultaneously charismatic and repulsive. Byron was on occasion anorexic and because he had a tendency to gain weight would pile on clothing and work out sweating like a pig. He drank prodigious amounts, spent well beyond his means and travel throughout Europe leaving heartbroken ladies swooning in his wake. He had the sexual appetite which would make Wilt Chamberlain appear puritanical. His houses were furnished with a menagerie of creatures, bea ...more
Jun 12, 2014 Myles rated it liked it
Might as well get it out of the way from the beginning: Charles Gordon, Lord Byron, was a bad boy. Today we would consider him a serial rapist, pedophile, bankrupt, political meddler, philanderer, adulterer, effete, alchoholic, bearer of sexually transmitted diseases, slanderer, and libeller. Back in the early 19th century he would also have been considered a criminal for committing incest and sodomy, although sodomy today doesn't have the same cache it once did, except maybe in Saudi Arabia and ...more
Martine Peacock
Sep 04, 2011 Martine Peacock rated it really liked it
This book jumped off the library shelf at me because though I've heard of Byron, I knew little more than that he was 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' and consorted with his sister, so I thought it was time to find out more. Well, the boy certainly was dangerous to know - he had more cases of the clap than a year's intake at the GUM clinic. If he came strolling through my front door, I wouldn't touch him with a bargepole!

The book was simply unputdownable - but I've a notion this was more to do w
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The original rock star 1 6 Feb 19, 2010 11:49AM  
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Edna O’Brien (b. 1930), an award-winning Irish author of novels, plays, and short stories, has been hailed as one of the greatest chroniclers of the female experience in the twentieth century. She is the 2011 recipient of the Frank O’Connor Prize, awarded for her short story collection Saints and Sinners. She has also received, among other honors, the Irish PEN Award for Literature, the Ulysses Me ...more
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