Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Byron and Augusta: an incestuous love

Lord Byron. Image from Google

After the death of his mother, Byron drew closer to his half sister, Augusta. Now his only living relative, Augusta was married to her cousin Captain George Leigh, who spent most of his time gambling and drinking. For years older than Byron, Augusta, with her chestnut hair and large eyes, was said to resemble a female version of him. Separated s children, they became closer as they grew older, and Byron formed a deep attachment for her. In june of 1813, she arrived in London to ask him for help (...) 
Byron explored his incestuous feelings in The Bride of Abydos, 1200 lines of poetry that he claimed to have written in four nights. Though set in Turkey, it told of a love between cousins who had been raised together as brother and sister. (In his original draft, the lovers had actually been brother and sister.) Byron portrays Zuleika´s passionate love for her cousin Selim in words that shocked his readers.

Thy cheek, thine eyes, thy lips to kiss,
Like this -and this- no more than this,
For, Allah! sure thy lips are flame,
What fever in thy veins is flushing?
My own have nearly caught the same,
At least I feel my cheek, too, blushing.

Augusta Leigh. Picture from

Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. The Monsters. Chapter The Most Dangerous Man in Europe. P. 120-121


  1. Felizmente me he encontrado con este blog que me ha hecho muy feliz. En primer lugar, por la maravilla de coincidir en gustos con personas de las que nos separan kilómetros, y que, sin embargo, podemos compartir aficiones.
    Curiosamente fue una entrada anterior la que me atrajo: se trata de "La familia Conejola", libro que tuve en mis pequeñas manos hace ya 32 años.
    He leído algunas de las entradas y me ha gustado el blog. Seguramente lo visitaré con frecuencia.
    Sería un honor para mí, recibir su visita en mi espacio:
    Reciba un saludo afectuoso desde México
    Analú Campos López

  2. HOla Analú, el gusto es mío y no creas que estamos tan lejos, vivo a unas dos horas de la frontera con México. Pasaré a visitarte e intercambiaremos ideas,
    Un abrazo,


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