Friday, May 14, 2010
Byron and Shelley exposed as two-timing love rats!
Serial cheat Lord Byron (sketch c 1815 by GH Harlow)
An early form of kiss 'n' tell is to be found in a fascinating new book from Bloomsbury titled Young Romantics by Daisy Hay.
It contains a newly discovered brief memoir by Claire Clairmont (1798-1879), Mary Shelley's step-sister, who had a brief fling in 1816 with Byron and was left preggers by him in her teens. By her seventies she'd long abandoned her hedonistic ways and embraced Catholicism which may explain why she writes: "Under the influence of the doctrine and belief of free love, I saw the two first poets of England… become monsters."
She adds: "The worshippers of free love not only preyed upon one another" but also on themselves, "turning their existence into a perfect hell". Byron was "a human tyger [sic] slaking his thirst for inflicting pain upon defenceless women." Shelley was no better, she chronicles.
It's a marvellous example of the kiss 'n' tell form. A woman throws herself at a star she knows to be married, basks in the intense heat of a cock-cunting infatuation before getting dumped with more than she bargained for. She then absolves herself of any personal responsibility in a tell-all, heaping all blame on her failed investment. It's a wonder Claire doesn't complain of being roasted by the two poets at some 5 star inn.
Her ghost may be consoled that the baby-women she exemplifies can now make a fortune from parading their sob stories in the tabloids.