The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons

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9780006551591: The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons

A groundbreaking work of Romantic biography; David Crane’s book is an astonishingly original examination of Byron, and a radical approach to biography.

Crane focuses on the lifelong feud between Augusta – Byron’s half-sister with whom he had a passionate affair – and Annabella, his society wife. Recreating a meeting between the two, years after Byron's death – the Romantic ‘High Noon’ – he explores the emotional and sexual truth and the human vulnerability that lie at the heart of the Byron story.

‘The Kindness of Sisters’ is not only rigorous in its scholarship, but also superbly compelling drama. Crane’s book combines passion, revenge and recrimination in 19th-century Britain with all the intensity of a Greek tragedy.

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Review:

Praise for ‘Lord Byron’s Jackal’:

‘In “Lord Byron’s Jackal”, David Crane brings Edward Trelawny – seaman, scoundrel, friend of Byron and Shelley startlingly to life. Here is a wonderful adventure story about a man who invented himself in the image of the Byronic hero and lived to the hilt the final passionate and violent flowering of Romanticism in the cause of Greek independence.’ Stella Tillyard

‘Fascinating and oddly disturbing, Crane vividly evokes the horror of a revolution in which both sides were equally brutal. His is a complex book, but as a narrative of mingled fraud and genius it is altogether convincing.’ Jan Morris, Independent

From the Back Cover:

A groundbreaking work of Romantic biography – David Crane's book in an important and original examination of Byron, revolutionary in its technique.

The great Romantic poet, Lord Byron, left a trail of scandal and destruction in his wake. David Crane's genius is to examine Byron's legacy through the worlds and lives of the women he left behind. At the book's heart is the lifelong feud between Augusta – Byron's half-sister with whom he had a passionate affair – and Annabella, his society wife. Crane reconstructs a meeting between the two women years after Byron's death through which he explores the emotional and sexual truth and human vulnerability which lie at the heart of the Byron story.

'The Kindness of Sisters' is a story full of dubious motives, none more so that in Annabella's 'saving' of Augusta and her child Medora, and her twisted revenge on them both. David Crane's book re-established the compulsive drama of this story. And, in the mere presence of two elderly women – the one frail from chronic ill health, the other dying – we have the ultimate proof of the obsession with the memory and influence of Byron that makes their story, the story of the age itself.

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Crane, David
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