A SINGLE SUMMER WITH LORD B. by Derek Marlowe

A SINGLE SUMMER WITH LORD B.

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is altogether different from Mr. Marlowe's earlier A Dandy in Aspic and Memiors of a Venus Lackey -- Lord B. is Lord Byron who was the victim of such turbid exaggeration in Prokosch's novel last year (The Missolonghi Manuscript). Here, almost imperceptibly interconnected via letters and contemporary documents (for the most part authentic) Mr. Marlowe has reproduced the daily interchange of one summer, the summer of 1816, at Lake Leman, as spent together by Byron, Polidori (his young, only twenty, personal physician), the Shelleys (not a legal fait accompli) and Claire Clairmont, who pursued Byron for 800 miles, succeeding in securing a place, in his bed but not his affections. Polidori tells the story in the first person, Polidori whom Byron deprecates and humiliates at every turn and who finally admits that he's ""a wretched creature, an amusement to others and a tragedy to myself."" In this ambience of cultivated airs, petulance, some irritation and occasional despondency, Byron writes some of his greatest poetry, Mary Godwin starts, her novel Frankenstein. Claire conceives otherwise and is disposed of along with poor Polidori..... A felicitous and fastidious undertaking, as finely shaded as a mezzotint.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1969
Publisher: Viking