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In 1822, after having been discharged from the British navy, deserted by his wife, and as good as disowned by his father, the thirty-two year old Edward John Trelawny set off for Italy to make the acquaintance of his hero, Lord Byron. "I have met today the personification of my Corsair," Byron wrote in a letter. "He sleeps with the poem under his pillow, and all his past adventures and present manners aim at this personification." But though Byron enjoyed the company of his admirer, and was eventually to embark with him on his ill-fated final expedition to aid in the War of Greek Independence, he had grown guarded and ironical with age, and the perfect meeting of minds that Trelawny had envisioned was not to be. Shelley, however, enchanted him. In the months before his death at sea, he and Trelawny were frequent companions, and the young poet emerges from these pages in all his splendid carelessness and otherworldly concentration.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Trelawny provides a very exacting description of Shelley and his inspired reclusion from things general and mundane. Trelawny's prose is equally enjoyable to follow and suggests a candence to the life of the Circle's members that is unforgettable, though sometimes his artifice seems to be almost at the mercy of providing a good story rather than telling things with absolute verity. Question Tre's words, but do not doubt the seemingly divine quality of Shelley, and the occasionally pessimistic, though cavalier mind of Byron. No living friend of these poets ever doubted this. Highly recommended.