Byron: A Life in Ten Letters (2024)

Byron: A Life in Ten Letters


‘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


‘We have had many flings at a ‘Life of Byron’, all of them more or less successful because all of them failing to hand over a dead man to us. 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