The Eroticism of Fat Men
Byron was “astounded indeed”. He understood just how serious these allegations were in the repressive sexual climate of the day, becoming “dreadfully agitated” and threatening to blow his brains out. A few days later a panicky Augusta wrote to Lady Byron to let her know of “reports abroad of a nature too horrible to repeat… Every other sinks into nothing besides this MOST horrid one”. She quoted Byron as admitting, on the previous evening: “Even to have such a thing said is utter destruction & ruin to a man from which he can never recover.” In a postscript to her sister-in-law she added, “I think you will not misunderstand to what I allude.”
Suspicions of marital sodomy now entered the equation, evidently convincing to Byron’s former patron Lord Holland, who told Hobhouse that Byron had “tried to -” Lady Byron. The possibility of anal intercourse between the Byrons was to paralyse some of Byron’s best known 20th-century biographers. “I fear I cannot complete that sentence,” wrote Harold Nicolson in 1924, while in 1974 Doris Langley Moore ridiculed the idea that Annabella could ever have submitted “responsively to a perversion that was then a felony – and which would still, I fancy, repel any woman of delicacy”.
Guardian, Saturday 9 November 2002