1840s

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The Fictions of Byron

 

Fictions of Byron: An Annotated Bibliography
by G. Todd Davis

1840s

Cecil: Or the Adventures of a Coxcomb. Catherine Gore. 1841. Cecil, the second son of a rich Lord, is a coxcomb. Even though he remains decidedly ill-fated, Cecil placates his reading audience with self-deprecation and wit. Byron plays a bit part as one of Cecil's best friends. They travel together at times, spending long hours talking with one another. Byron, as dandy, mirrors Cecil's dedication to clothing and appearance. Because Byron's character dies in this novel, he does not appear in the sequel, Cecil the Peer.

The Lottery of Life. Marguerite Blessington. 1844. As is well-documented, Lady Blessington knew Byron personally. Her record of their conversations remains an important source book for scholars. The Lottery of Life, however, only deals with Byron tangentially, sparingly using him as a model for the character of Percy Mortimer. This young man, kind-hearted and generous but also reckless and a spend-thrift dandy, eventually becomes compromised when he stands security for an aristocratic friend who defaults on a loan, which leaves Percy to pay the price. Fundamentally, the author creates a narrative that rewards those individuals who maintain a strict work ethic and morality, while punishing those who betray friends and act dishonestly. Percy eventually learns the errors of his ways and ends his life in a loving marriage to his best friend's sister. The hero of the story, Richard Wallingford, rises, through hard work, dedication, honesty, and compassion, from a farmer's son to ambassador, complete with aristocratic marriage and independent wealth.

Published @ RC

January 2006