Byron’s brutal takedown of spouse and mother-in-law revealed in unseen letter giving perception into burnt memoir | EUROtoday

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Lord Byron’s brutal takedown of his spouse and mother-in-law has been revealed in a newly found letter that gives contemporary perception into his burnt memoirs.

The poet, who was 36 when he died in 1824, had left his memoirs with directions to publish them following his loss of life – however the manuscript was burned on the workplace of his writer after he died amid fears of harm to his fame.

Now, a letter that describes Byron’s destroyed memoirs has been discovered by archivist Adam Green, who was cataloguing the Dawson Turner archive, in Trinity College’s Wren Library on the University of Cambridge.

Elizabeth Palgrave writes to her father, the banker Dawson Turner, that she noticed the manuscript on a go to to the publishing home of John Murray, expressing her shock at Byron’s “degrading” of his spouse and “aversion” to his mother-in-law.

Page considered one of a letter dated 29 October 1823 describing Lord Byron’s memoirs that has been found at a University of Cambridge faculty (Trinity College/PA Wire)

In the letter dated 29 October 1823, she wrote: “I opened the pages accidentally at that part of his Lordship’s life which mentions his marriage [to Anne Milbanke]and I read it with the utmost interest and avidity.

“Lord Byron prefaces this portion of his manuscript by professing his design of hurrying over it, as it is of all the most painful to record.

“He then, in the most cold-blooded and heartless manner, declares his little attachment to his wife at any time…

“It is grievous to read his declaration of indifference to his wife and of aversion to her mother, whom he never mentions but by the most opprobrious epithets.

“Nor does he ever call his wife by any name but that of ‘Miss Milbanke’.”

Page two of the letter Elizabeth Palgrave writes to her father, the banker Dawson Turner (Trinity College/PA Wire)

She wrote that Byron’s memoirs “contain the most severe remarks, not only on [his father-in-law] Sir Ralph Milbanke’s family, mode of life – but all the families in the neighbourhood whom his Lordship met, are mentioned by name and classed in the wittiest but most cruel manner”.

Ms Palgrave continued: “Lord Byron evidently set his mind to evil – he takes delight in recording his own wickedness, and in the most perverted of all feelings – that of exposing and degrading his wife.

“A leading trait in his memoirs is the extreme pleasure he takes in levelling, as far as he can, those who are eminent for virtue to his own standard.”

Page three of the letter discovered by archivist Adam Green (Trinity College/PA Wire)

Cambridge scholar Dr Corin Throsby mentioned the invention of the letter was “truly exciting”.

“For centuries people have wondered what Byron’s lost memoirs might have contained, so it is truly exciting to have another first-hand account from someone who read them,” she mentioned.

“Byron was always out to shock, and he would have been unsurprised and possibly delighted by Elizabeth’s extreme reaction to his work.

“Her letter shows the success of Byron’s ‘bad boy’ persona as she is not only disturbed but also clearly fascinated by him, repeatedly imagining how he was feeling while writing.

“In this way, the letter offers a window into how Byron was read in his time and demonstrates the lost memoir’s apparent ability to simultaneously scandalise and captivate its readers’ imagination.”

A conservator cleans Lord Byron’s memorial stone in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey in London, forward of a wreath laying service on Friday to mark the two hundredth anniversary of his loss of life (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Byron was a scholar at Trinity College between 1805 and 1807.

Trinity College archivist Adam Green, who found the letter, mentioned: “This fascinating detail is typical of Elizabeth Palgrave’s letters, which burst with intelligence and information.

“It’s typical too of the discoveries waiting to be made in the many relatively unexplored collections of letters – particularly those of women – in this library and elsewhere.”