BYRON'S DAUGHTER: A Biography of Elizabeth Medora Leigh by Catherine Turney

BYRON'S DAUGHTER: A Biography of Elizabeth Medora Leigh

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After ""twelve years of digging and delving"" -- and with such an investment could she have concluded otherwise? -- Miss Turney is convinced that ""Libby"" was not at all the opportunistic bitch as alleged by other biographers of the Byron set. The adoption of that endearing childhood nickname is typical of the efforts on her behalf, but her story has a kind of interest that can never be whitewashed away. To wit: she was born of a love affair between Byron and his half-sister Augusta which triangulated his marriage impossibly; then Libby herself made a third in the household of her own half-sister -- whose husband, a reprobate named Henry Trevanian, had entered the family by way of Augusta's bedroom -- and when the mess was complete she presented her empty pockets and illegitimate daughter to the originally wronged Lady Bryon. Lady B's ""protection"" was assured by the promise she gave to Byron and by her hopeless susceptibility to ""the Byron charm,"" and perhaps too, it is carefully insinuated, by a touch of latent lesbianism. Libby's friendships and finances are every bit as intricate, and the inferences are by no means clearly favorable. Miss Turney seems willing to shift her vantage as necessary to rule Libby innocent, whatever moral contradictions it may involve -- but then moral judgment is simply a tolerable incidental in a tale as juicy as this one.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Scribners