Glorious Apollo is a fictional biography of the 18th century Romantic poet, George Gordon, Lord Byron.
Byron comes from a family noted for philandering and profligacy. He achieves notoriety in those areas before he achieves fame as a poet.
Glorious Apollo by E. Barrington*
Dodd, Mead and Company, 1925, 371 pages. 1925 bestseller #4. My grade: C+.
Byron is, as one of his lovers says, “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”
When his poems become valuable, Byron refuses to accept money for them (It wouldn’t be gentlemanly), but he’ll gladly marry for money.
Byron selects a unimpeachable young woman, Anne Milbanke, scorning her almost from the moment of the marriage.
When tales of her husband’s relationships become common knowledge — including one with his half sister – Anne secures a separation.
Byron goes into exile in Europe. He is such a celebrity that a telescope is set up in Geneva so British tourists can watch his home.
Aided by booze, drugs, and the poet Shelley, Byron sinks further into degradation. He’s dead at age 33.
An encyclopedia entry is more explicit and titilating than the portrait produced by author E. Barrington*. Through generalizations and circumlocutions, she manages to make her novel bland almost to the point of boredom.
Today’s readers will find little to applaud in Glorious Apollo other than fragments of history.
*E. Barrington is a pseudonym used by Elizabeth Louisa Moresby Adams Beck
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni