Byron, more than any other poet, has come to personify the poet as rebel, imaginative and lawless, reaching beyond race, creed or frontier, his gigantic flaws redeemed by a magnetism and ultimately a heroism that by ending in tragedy raised it and him from the particular to the universal.
Everything about Lord George Gordon Byron was a paradox - insider and outsider, beautiful and deformed, serious and facetious, profligate but on occasion miserly and possessed of a fierce intelligence trapped forever in a child's magic and malices. He was also a great poet, but as he reminded us, poetry is a distinct faculty and has little to do with the individual life of its creator.
Edna O'Brien's exemplary biography focuses upon the diverse and colourful women in Byron's life.
Edna O'Brien is the author of 19 books. She was the winner of the 1993 Writers' Guild Prize for Fiction. Her biography of James Joyce was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in June 1999. Her recent fiction has been about Irish to;pic - religion, politics, property. In 2001 her documentary novel, In the Forest - about a brutal murder on the west coast - caused a furore in her native Ireland. It was the subject of a BBC Omnibus film.