The Byron Journal

Byron: The Sanity or Madness of Same-Sex Love

The Byron Journal (2016), 44, (2), 139–150.

Abstract

Byron lived through a period of transition in politics but also in attitudes to sexuality. This essay argues that Byron’s ambivalent attitudes towards same-sex love derived from conflicts between his education in the Greek and Roman classics and the spreading normative psychopathology of his age. It examines Byron’s self-fashioning within classical discourses of same-sex love, the role played by his Calvinist upbringing in inducing guilt and considers the extent to which he associated madness with offences against established sexual norms. It shows that Byron’s conflicting views were very much consistent with those of his time.

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Author details

Lessenich, Rolf P.

Lessenich, Rolf P.