Byron: The Erotic Liberal is the first book to focus on the erotic dimension of Byron's political career, as expressed in both Byron's poetry and his prose. Jonathan David Gross draws on extensive archival research into the life and letters of Lady Melbourne, whose correspondence with Byron shaped his erotic imagination and influenced his engagement with the biblical story of Joseph. Gross places Byron's politics in the context of the writings of other European aristocratic liberals, such as Madame de Stael, to consider anew Byron's relationship to women and his political peers. Yet Gross successfully brings Byron into our modern age, making use of recent work in women's studies and gay studies to explain how Byron's sexuality shaped his political beliefs."
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This book is a significant contribution to Byron studies. Gross is well informed in the social and political details of Byron's English milieu, but he is also well prepared to read Byron's career as erotic liberal through the lens of contemporary gay studies and through the biblical story of Joseph. His ability to see connections between Byron and contemporary American liberalism is ingenious.--Peter Graham, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University