The Byron Journal

The Mysterious Dwyer: An Unpublished Note by Byron

The Byron Journal (2010), 38, (1), 49–58.

Abstract

A note in the Special Collections Department at Iowa University (not included in Marchand's edition of Byron's letters and journals, and here printed for the first time) appears to be by Byron and is in keeping with his hand. However, the note is frustratingly mysterious and includes none of the material indicators that might serve to place it, though the signature 'NB' indicates that, if it is genuinely by Byron, it cannot date from before 14 February 1822. The note announces that 'Dwyer being drunk can't attest', but it is not clear who this Dwyer might have been or on what occasion his evidence might have been required. Perhaps the most likely event is the 'Masi affair' of 24 March 1822, though no Dwyer seems to have been involved, even as eyewitness. Yet the importance of accuracy and honest attestation can be matched to Byron's own concerns in this contentious case, which was widely misreported. The note is addressed to 'H.', who could be Hobhouse or Hodgson, but is perhaps most likely to be Leigh Hunt (as the Library in Iowa has always believed), who seems to fulfil all the requirements.

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Author details

Webb, Timothy