Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816

Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816

by David Ellis
     
 

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

See more details below

Overview

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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal

“A succinct and full account of one eventful summer in the lives of some extraordinarily talented young writers. Who needs embellishment when the facts are as interesting as these?”—Wall Street Journal

— J. S. Tennant

Times Higher Education

“Ellis deftly sketches Byron’s expatriate existence in Switzerland, presenting Geneva as a city of ironclad Calvinist rectitude that perversely became the destination of a succession of freethinking outcasts.”—Times Higher Education

— Jane Stabler

Literary Review

“Renewed attention to the summer of 1816 allows us to s
— Daisy Hay

Open Letters Monthly

"A thorough and energetic micro-examination of one pivotal season in a collection of pivotal lives. No student of Byron or the Romantics should miss it."—Open Letters Monthly

— Steve Donoghue

Jenny Uglow
“A brilliantly detailed retelling of the personal and literary crisis in Byron’s life. Vivid, sympathetic, and judicious, this remarkable book is a provocative counter to recent biographical and critical studies.”

Wall Street Journal - J. S. Tennant
 

“A succinct and full account of one eventful summer in the lives of some extraordinarily talented young writers. Who needs embellishment when the facts are as interesting as these?”

Times Higher Education - Jane Stabler
“Ellis deftly sketches Byron’s expatriate existence in Switzerland, presenting Geneva as a city of ironclad Calvinist rectitude that perversely became the destination of a succession of freethinking outcasts.”

Literary Review - Daisy Hay
 

“Renewed attention to the summer of 1816 allows us to see Byron afresh, untrammeled by the ideological perspectives of his most recent biographers. . . . Ellis certainly succeeds in adding color and detail to a well-known story.”

Open Letters Monthly - Steve Donoghue
"A thorough and energetic micro-examination of one pivotal season in a collection of pivotal lives. No student of Byron or the Romantics should miss it."—Open Letters Monthly

From the Publisher
"By synthesising multiple perspectives ... and by giving himself space to explore some of the summer's bit-part players in more detail, Ellis certainly succeeds in adding colour and detail to a well-known story.... Because of its extraordinary confluence of ideas and personalities, its story is one that bears retelling."—Literary Review

"The book distils copious research in a convivial and occasionally offhand manner ... [and] Ellis' amassing of biographical subplots creates a richly peopled context. [His] narrative of criss-crossing pathways details with brilliant economy the way in which "that summer" failed to answer the lonely searches of all those involved."—Times Higher Education

"David Ellis's account of Byron's time with Shelley and others in Geneva may be forgiven its myth-making subtitle. His manyvoiced account of the Genevan summer provides a welcome refinement of Byron's biography, in reminding us just how elusive his character remains."—Times Literary Supplement

"The story Ellis tells is of Byron on the run, and having, as they say, to turn his life around, but without wanting to explain himself, or to feign regrets he didn't feel or a wish for forgiveness he didn't want. [...] Byron in Geneva makes us wonder whether there really are turning points in people's lives, or rather obscure evolutions punctured and punctuated by crises."—London Review of Books

"No student of Byron or the Romantics should miss it."—Open Letters Monthly: An Arts and Literature Review

"An insightful, judicious biographical account of a crucial period in Byron's life... This book is perfect for those interested in the story of Byron's and the Shelleys' memorable summer of 1816; for advanced scholars, it serves as an excellent refresher on this period in the authors' lives. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers."—Choice, Vol 49.3

"Mr. Ellis's book is admirably free of exaggeration or guesswork. We have here a succinct and full account of one eventful summer in the lives of some extraordinarily talented young writers. Who needs embellishment when the facts are as interesting as these?"—The Wall Street Journal

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781846316432
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
Publication date:
06/15/2011
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,420,960
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >