Sensational Lives: Byron and Robinson’s Lives Mirrored in Literature

Open Access
Showalter, Adrienne
Area of Honors:
English (University College)
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr Arnold A Markley, Thesis Supervisor
  • Adam J Sorkin, Honors Advisor
  • sexuality
  • feminism
  • persona
  • celebrity
  • Robinson
  • Byron
This paper analyzes the lives and selected works of two controversial British Romantic writers: Mary Darby Robinson and Lord Byron. Both writers’ lives and work were in the public eye in a manner more reminiscent of modern celebrity culture. Due to their celebrity, both authors’ made use of their personal lives to enhance their written works. In some cases, they used their poems or novels as a way to manipulate or otherwise control their public persona. This thesis attempts to ascertain the level of personal experience apparent in the author’s works through research of biographies and memoirs, critical texts, and explications of the subjects’ literary material. The works examined include Mary Darby Robinson’s “The Linnet’s Petition” and The Natural Daughter and Lord Byron’s Don Juan and Bride of Abydos.