Byron in Geneva

That Summer of 1816

David Ellis

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ISBN: 9781781386262

Publication: May 16, 2011

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 together 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 the year without a summer), but also that crucial moment in the development of his writing when, urged on by Shelley, Byron tried to transform himself into a Romantic poet of the Wordsworthian variety. The book gives a vivid impression of what Byron thought and felt in these few months after the breakdown of his marriage, but also explores the different aspects of his nature that emerge in contact with a remarkable cast of supporting characters, which also included Madame de Staël, who presided over a famous salon in Coppet, across the lake from Geneva, and Matthew Lewis, author of the splendidly erotic `Gothic’ best-seller, The Monk. David Ellis sets out to challenge recent damning studies of Byron and through his meticulous exploration of the private and public life of the poet at this pivotal moment, he reasserts the value of Byron’s wit, warm-heartedness, and hatred of cant.

David Ellis is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Kent. His previous books include 'Death and the author: how D. H. Lawrence died, and was remembered' (OUP, 2008) and 'Literary Lives: Biography and the search for understanding' (EUP, 2003). His website can be found at:

Preface Acknowledgements Map of Byron's Switzerland Part One 1. Heading for Geneva 2. The Shelley Party 3. On the Road 4. First Meetings 5. Diodati 6. Frightening Temples 7. A Narrow Escape 8. Chillon, Clarens and Ouchy Part Two 9. Coppet 10. Romans a clef 11. Chamonix 12. The Problem of Claire and the First of the Visitors 13. Reconciliation 14. Old Friends 15. Polidori Does Not Suit 16. The Jungfrau Afterwords 1. Lewis, de Stael and 'Poor Polidori' 2. The Shelley Party and Allegra 3.The Road to Greece 4. Last Rites Notes Bibliography Index

Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781781386262

Publication: May 16, 2011

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