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Glenarvon [Paperback]

By Caroline Lamb (Author), Lady Caroline Lamb (Author) & Deborah Lutz (Editor)
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Item description for Glenarvon by Caroline Lamb, Lady Caroline Lamb & Deborah Lutz...

"I read 'Glenarvon, ' too, by Caro. Lamb....God damn " - Lord Byron

In 1812, Lady Caroline Lamb, wife of a prominent politician and future Prime Minister, began a tempestuous affair with Lord Byron, a liaison that shocked Lamb's contemporaries. Finally, when he became tired of Lamb, Byron cruelly broke off the relationship, and in "Glenarvon" (1816) Lamb sought revenge.

Set against the backdrop of the violent Irish Revolution of 1798, Glenarvon tells the story of the doomed love of the married Lady Calantha for the dashing revolutionary Lord Glenarvon. Though published anonymously, contemporary readers immediately recognised in Calantha and Glenarvon the counterparts of Lamb and Byron and in many of the minor characters satiric portraits of some of the leading lights of London high society. The novel became an instant success, going through numerous editions and resulting in Lamb's being blackballed from fashionable society.

The Valancourt Books edition includes the unabridged text of the first edition as well as Lamb's preface from the expurgated second edition. This edition also features a new introduction and notes by Deborah Lutz and an index to characters in "Glenarvon" and their real-life counterparts.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   371
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 27, 2007
Publisher   Valancourt Books
ISBN  1934555053  
ISBN13  9781934555057  

Availability  0 units.

More About Caroline Lamb, Lady Caroline Lamb & Deborah Lutz

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Caroline Lamb was born in 1785 and died in 1828.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary

Reviews - What do customers think about Glenarvon?

"The Legandary Scandal of Byron's Romance"  Nov 6, 2007
Lady Caroline Lamb supposedly sat in a room and dictated this book to a gentleman who put it to paper, and he was horrified that such a story could come from feminine lips! It was an attempt to revenge herself on Byron after he was bored with their affair, and many figures in popular society recognized themselves satirized in its pages. This is certainly the best edition of GLENARVON I have come across, and the introduction is keen and informative as well. I highly recommend this text to anyone interested in Romantic, Gothic, or early 19th Century fiction.
Only if you have your own "Romantics" love affair  May 21, 2005
As most people know, Glenarvon tells the story of Lamb's real life love affair with Lord Byron, an experience which deeply touched her and affected the rest of her life.

However, the book is much more than a tawdry kiss-and-tell expose, as Lamb shows that she appreciates Romantic sensibilities as much as her erstwhile lover. Some people have described the book as unreadable, and at the time it was first published it was dismissed as little more than scandalous revelation; although it can be confusing at times, and is not a straightforward retelling of the affair, it is well worth persevering with.

The book strays into the realms of fantasy, and if you are reading it purely as historical research it can be difficult to extricate who's who, as sometimes one real-life character resembles two characters in the book, or vice versa. The lead parts are, however, fairly obvious. Calantha is Lamb herself, Lord Avondale is her husband William Lamb, and Glenarvon her lover Byron.

As the story continues the plot becomes more and more tangled, and although it often strays beyond the realms of reality, it is interesting when compared with other fictitious representations of Byron, particularly that of Polidori's "Vampyre"

The novel reveals much more about Lamb than it does about Byron, and in my opinion serves to redeem her from the position of deranged groupie that history has assigned her. It reveals interesting details about her early life, perhaps not always taken into consideration when examining here character. Moreover this book shows her to be intelligent, as it is far from an hysterical romance.

I would definitely recommend the book to those with an interest in the Romantics, and most particularly an interest in Byron.

Turgid and over dramatic - but a must for Byron fans  Dec 14, 2000
This book is interesting from a historical perspective but that is really all. What Lady Caroline Lamb needed was a damn good editor as Glenarvon is a long and turgid read. I doubt there would be any interest in this book now were it not for the fact that she wrote it as a roman a clef - a book with thinly disguised portraits of many of Regency London's celebrities - and of course primarily about her relationship with the great poet Byron.

Did I say her relationship? Well not quite. This is a highly Gothic rendition of their relationship. There was no attempt to present it as anything but fiction - but those in know tried to pick out the facts from the overlay of fictional story-telling. For instance a letter she used verbatim in here is said to have been written to her by Byron.

This edition has a marvellous introduction which puts the novel in context with the times and Lamb's life and helps us as readers understand the links between real life and fiction. But this is an uneasy novel, poorly paced, with a tendency to maudlin pathos and overwrought chest-beating. It is interspersed with sections of intentional humour - Lamb clearly had great talent - but much of it was for the over-dramatic. Its a pity she wasn't taken in hand by her editor then as there are the makings of a very good novel in amongst the pages of dross. Overall the the novel is very Gothic and really only of interest to those who have an interest in Byron or Lamb herself. Byron, is of course Glenarvon the anti-hero of the novel and Lady Caroline the poor victimised Calantha.

In short the novel is all about poor old Calantha who marries one man, but is seduced by another (Glenarvon) who also masquerades under another evil persona. Their are ruined castles galore, quivering breasts, breathless terror - and the Irish rebellion of the late 1790's makes a bit of showing as well.

Lamb wrote two more novels after this neither of which have been reprinted - they were both, it seems overwritten as well, but without the added advantage of dozens of personality portraits of real people to ensure the successful marketing of the book. . Glenarvon was written, Lamb claims, as an apology to Byron, but marked the end of her acceptability amongst the elite of London society. She had overstepped the limit of social acceptibility once too often.

One of the oddest things about all this is that although we know Lamb as the lover of Byron, the affair was of the briefest - hardly lasting more than four months in the summer of 1812. She became completely obsessed with him after that and he had no peace from her. He eventually left London just before this book was published and died overseas fighting for the Greek cause in 1824. Lamb died 4 years later in 1828. I wonder if we should have known much of her at all were it not for those brief three months?


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