Byron: A Life in Ten Letters

(Cambridge University Press, 2024)

Byron: A Life in Ten Letters


‘a compact biography, elegantly structured….Each letter affords Stauffer a chance for a ruminative riff on…Byron’s history.”

Anothony Lane in The New Yorker

The New Yorker‘s “Best Books We’ve Read in 2024

‘Ingenious … this devilishly readable book brings Regency England and Napoleonic Europe to howling life and pulls its disgraceful but irresistible subject into dazzling focus.’

John Walsh in the London Sunday Times

“Stauffer’s book is a splendid thing, colorful and busy with incident, but always thoughtful and astute in its judgments.”

John Banville in The Guardian

“Excellent—To each letter Stauffer appends an engaging, fact-rich essay, augmented by relevant quotations from Byron’s poetry and insightful comments of his own”

Michael Dirda in The Washington Post

“Scholarly and accessible…pleasingly compact…it brings to the fore Byron’s fabulouos, captivating voice”

Corin Throsby in the Times Literary Supplement

“well-written and lively, innovative and interesting. Stauffer extracts the rich ore from the letters.”

Jeffrey Meyers in PN Review

“so many of Byron’s personal landscapes are brought alive here with energy and sureness of touch….Stauffer does not spare us the hard questions”

Rowan Williams in The New Statesman

‘This scintillating study…vividly brings the poet to life….Stauffer’s immersive prose shines…’

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

The Week‘s “Best Memoirs and Biographies to Read in 2024”

‘This new biography of Byron is a miracle of condensation; by putting the letters centre-stage, Professor Stauffer manages to let his subject speak for himself in all the contradictory range of his moods and circumstances – at the same time as elegantly and unobtrusively shaping a narrative that leaps off the page.’

Roderick Beaton, Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek & Byzantine History, Language & Literature, King’s College London


‘This is the best short introduction to Byron available. Stauffer steers us through a tumultuous life with poise and expert authority. The letters provide vivid snapshots of Byron at key moments across three decades and the biography that emerges is deeply absorbing.’

Jane Stabler, Professor of Romantic Literature, University of St Andrews


‘This little book is as good as such a venture gets because it puts front and center what Shelley might have called the Life of the Life of Byron: his very self and voice in ten remarkable letters. They sketch the story of a life whose riches taught him poverty. ‘I have spent my life both interest and principal,/ And deem not, what I deem’d, my soul invincible’. A mortal life well spent.’

Jerome McGann, Emeritus University Professor, University of Virginia


‘Framed around ten of Byron’s most intriguing letters, Stauffer’s lively narrative never loses sight of the poetry, reminding the reader of Byron’s prodigious output even amidst the chaos of his domestic life. With many insightful observations on Byron’s conduct, Stauffer does not hesitate to criticise when criticism is justified but prefers to see in Byron not so much contradiction or hypocrisy but rather a synthesis of the light and dark sides of his nature, of the serious and the comic, of the ironic and the heartfelt. A delightful read.’

Robert James Byron, 13th Baron Byron


‘Andrew Stauffer offers a fresh and intimate take on a prolific and notoriously ungovernable subject, through a handful of letters judiciously selected from over three thousand. Building on the poet’s own voice, Stauffer beautifully evokes his world from Regency high society to the sordid whirl of Venice and political turmoil in Greece. Compelling, charming, and pleasingly scandal-packed – this is Byron, brilliantly distilled.’

Emily Brand, Author of The Fall of the House of Byron

Lord Byron: Selected Writings

(Oxford University Press, 2023)

This volume in the 21st Century Oxford Authors series offers readers a generous selection of the poetry upon which Byron’s fame depended and his reputation now rests. It presents the poems in the chronological order in which they were published, working in almost every case from their first appearances in print. 

The Selected Writings include the entirety of Byron’s two best-known works, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan, but the decision to work book-by-book means that they are presented not as unified works but as evolving serial publications, interspersed with other works published between installments or sequels. Alongside these two major works, wider representation is given to Byron’s lyric poetry than has been typical in modern editions. Furthermore, in keeping with the 21st Century Oxford Authors series, the works are reproduced in something close to their original printed forms. Prioritizing the event of publication over that of composition, this volume offers a version of Byron close to how he would have been known to his original public. With extensive annotations, it emphasizes the social processes by which literary works come to exist in the world, particularly their publication and reception histories. The result is a fresh view of Byron’s literary achievement and an impetus to further reading in the works of this extraordinary creative figure.

Book Traces

Nineteenth-Century Readers and the Future of the Library

(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021)

Winner of the 2022 Marilyn Gaull Book Award

“This is a beautiful, elegant work: an intimate journey into the poetry of nineteenth-century readers’ lives and books and an eloquent defense of libraries and the humanities.”

Michael C. Cohen, author of The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America


Book Traces is an extraordinary work of scholarship — astute, humane, and methodologically innovative. But its greatest contribution might be in warning scholars of nineteenth-century literature that we should act before we lose a vast, largely unstudied archive of nonrare editions full of utterly unique observations by nineteenth-century readers.”

Gorden Fraser, in Modern Philology

“It is refreshing to read a scholarly monograph in which all of that — love, hope, devotion — is right up front, coupled unapologetically with meticulous and imaginative bibliographic scholarship….Stauffer has done his job, much more than his job, advocating passionately and knowledgeably for the archive he cares about as a scholar of nineteenth-century literature and textual materiality.”

Gabrielle Dean, in Textual Cultures

Book Traces offers a transformative methodology for the study of nineteenth-century poetry and book culture. It is a rare combination: a monograph that is beautifully written, thoughtfully argued, and genuinely affecting…..we encounter multiple remnants of the human past that are recuperable if only we care to look. And through the force of Stauffer’s powerful example, we do…

Michelle Levy, in European Romantic Review

Learn more about the Book Traces project

She: A History of Adventure

(Broadview, 2006)

First published in 1886–87, H. Rider Haggard’s imperial romance follows its English heroes from the quiet rooms of Cambridge to the uncharted interior of Africa in search of a legendary lost city with an ageless white queen. The two men find their way to the ancient city of Kôr, where the beautiful and mysterious Ayesha, “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” rules. Despite her cruelty, both men become fascinated by Ayesha, who leads them on a harrowing journey to bathe in the underground “River of Life.” A thrilling “history of adventure,” Haggard’s She also reveals the complexity of Victorian attitudes towards race, gender, exploration, and empire.

This Broadview edition presents the novel in its original illustrated Graphic magazine version, never before republished, and includes a critical introduction and supporting materials that demonstrate the novel’s relationship to late-Victorian issues such as imperialism, archaeology, race, evolution, and the rise of the “New Woman.”


“The Broadview edition of She represents a benchmark in Rider Haggard studies. Situating She within a broad array of cultural documents on race, gender, empire, and archaeology, Andrew M. Stauffer has created an invaluable resource for contextualizing this fascinating adventure story within the ambulatory scope of the late-Victorian scientific and geographical imaginary. This edition will provide students, scholars, and the general reader alike with a sound foundation for reading (and rereading) Haggard’s classic novel.” — Shawn Malley, Bishop’s University

“Professor Stauffer’s editing is an exemplary case of textual stewardship: great care without imposition. His introduction is not only authoritative and lucid but stylistically engaging, as energetic as the novel itself—an ideal introduction for first-time readers. The appendix topics are exactly what is needed, and the materials included provide an excellent context. The selection of non-fiction pieces by Haggard himself on questions of genre, imperialism, archaeology, and gender roles provides especially valuable insights into the author, the novel, and the times.” — J. Jeffrey Franklin, University of Colorado at Denver

Anger, Revolution, & Romanticism

(Cambridge University Press, 2005)

The Romantic age was one of anger and its consequences: revolution and reaction, terror and war. Andrew M. Stauffer explores the changing place of anger in the literature and culture of the period, as English men and women rethought their relationship to the aggressive passions in the wake of the French Revolution. Drawing on diverse fields and discourses such as aesthetics, politics, medicine and the law and tracing the classical legacy the Romantics inherited, Stauffer charts the period’s struggle to define the relationship of anger to justice and the creative self. In their poetry and prose, Romantic authors including Blake, Coleridge, Godwin, Shelley and Byron negotiate the meanings of indignation and rage amidst a clamourous debate over the place of anger in art and in civil society. This innovative book has much to contribute to the understanding of Romantic literature and the cultural history of the emotions.


Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism takes our understanding of the period forward impressively — illuminating, in particular, the poetry of Byron and Shelley. It is an important and thought-provoking book, on a subject which has been inexplicably neglected. Future scholars will undoubtedly be keen to build on its solid foundations and subtle insights.”

Lucy Newlyn, in Essays in Criticism

“Written in a clear and precise style, Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism is characterized by a rare combination of innovation and accessibility….[Stauffer’s] approach enables a number of fascinating readings of the changing roles of anger in Romantic poetry. Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism rewards a general readership interested in the history of emotions, and it is invaluable for researchers interested in the ways in which changing conceptions of anger transformed both the content and form of Romantic poetry.”

Robert Mitchell, in European Romantic Review