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The Private Life of Lord Byron by Antony Peattie review portrait of a paradox | Books | The Guardian

Lord Byron, according to his dumped mistress Lady Caroline Lamb, was mad, bad and dangerous to know. Antony Peatties exploration of his personal caprices and intellectual quirks definitively strikes down all three charges. Byron the self-aware ironist was never demented; he may have relished his reputation for vice, but his pagan promiscuity was overshadowed by the legacy of his punitive Calvinist upbringing; and it would surely have been a delight, not a danger, to know this convivial fellow, whose eyes, as Coleridge said, were the open portals of the sun and his teeth so many stationary smiles.