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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » For the all you romantics out there

For the all you romantics out there

Lord Byron’s Great Insight: Mad, bad, and dangerous, he understood what women wanted.

It is easy to see Byron as a cad, a narcissist and, at bottom, a misogynist. But that would be unfair. Byron’s great insight, in an era where women were expected to be placid and insipid (not that they were!), was to see that women were much like men: They wanted sex and went after it eagerly, if secretly. Don Juan, his great satiric novel in verse, is a virtual catalog of passionate women who are anything but bashful, even if still virginal, and who are presented without condemnation, as human beings doing what human beings do. He understood, too, how limited was women’s scope for action. “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart,” writes Juan’s first love, the married Donna Julia, from the convent to which she is confined when their affair is discovered. ” ‘Tis woman’s whole existence.”

Byron’s electrifying effect on women readers was inspired not just by his handsomeness, his woundedness, and the exciting hope of reforming him, which was poor Annabella’s undoing. It was also due to his frankness, that sense his poetry gave that he understood his reader’s secret rebellious thoughts and longings for experience, pleasure, a life beyond tea tables. It wasn’t only the Greeks who found in him a champion of freedom.

If you stick you’re nose up at the literary greats, you are losing out on a source of both inspiration and advice. Memorizing a few lines of poetry can go a long way. Who better to learn from than one of history’s most notorious womanizers?

Hell, I learned more about women in Norman Mailer’s The Prisoner of Sex than I could have imagined, once I opened my eyes and applied a little of it. Byron offers much of the same – it is a growth process.

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