Bluestocking Claire Clairmont, stepdaughter of social philosopher William Godwin, sister-in-law of ""P.B."" (as he's known to his intimates) Shelley and cast-off mistress of Lord Byron -- despite the intellectual advantages of such a background -- is still somewhat less than the 19th-century liberated woman we are supposed to believe her to be. After Missolonghi, Claire flees to Moscow as a governess for the Europhilic aristocracy, but finds doppelgangers wherever she looks. By day she stuffs revolutionary nonsense into the head of her eighteen-year-old tutee whose Byronesque clubfoot brings back those bittersweet memories; by night she counts her sentimental regrets in her journal and receives her lover (a crony of no less than Pushkin), yet another political type who hasn't much use for women above their waspy waists. Come the December Revolt, Claire is left behind but does her bit for the cause by conferring sexual manhood on the boy -- rather a vulgar finishing touch to a contrived romance that insults women.