The Eroticism of Fat Men
But anger was also a stimulant. “It is odd, but agitation or contest of any kind gives a rebound to my spirits,” Byron once remarked. His fury and his grief at what he saw as the vindictive injustice of his banishment impelled him into a new phase of creative energy. He had started on the third canto of Childe Harold while still on board ship, not long after leaving Dover. The years of his exile, as he shifted his ramshackle households from Venice to Ravenna to Pisa to Genoa, were enormously productive. He completed Childe Harold, embarked on Don Juan, wrote the anti-monarchical satire A Vision of Judgement, works we now regard as the quintessential Byron, morally trenchant, hilariously funny, revealing his great empathy, the depth of his humanity. They show a triumphant rebound from his despair.
Guardian, Saturday 9 November 2002