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New Left Review 19, January-February 2003

Benjamin Markovits on Fiona MacCarthy, Byron: Life and Legend. Sexual and political impulses in the making of Childe Harold, in person and imagination.



‘Temperate I am, yet never had a temper,’ Byron wrote in the unfinished seventeenth canto of Don Juan, whose fragments he took with him on his final expedition to Greece in 1823:

Modest I am, though with some slight assurance,
Changeable too, yet somehow idem semper,
Patient, though not enamoured of endurance
Cheerful, but sometimes rather apt to whimper,
Mild, but at times a sort of Hercules furens,
So that I almost think that the same skin
For one without has two or three within.

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Benjamin Markovits, ‘Bisexual Byron’, NLR 19: £3

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