Shelley-Byron Men: Lost
angels of a ruined paradise, Pagan Press
2017, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-943742-30-4, $16. Printed case binding, Smyth-sewn. Publication date: 1 May 2017.
In this book, gay historian John Lauritsen tells a story that will not
be found in standard biographies. In 1822, two great poets —
Percy Bysshe Shelley and George Gordon, Lord Byron — lived in Pisa,
Italy, together with three friends. They met daily in Byron's
Although these men had wives and children, male love was an important
part of their lives. They thought of themselves as “pariahs”
in “exile”, and for good reason. Men and boys in their home
country, England, were being hanged for having sex with each other,
whereas Italy had no such laws.
All of them were ardent Hellenists, who knew that male love had
flourished in Ancient Greece — the same male love that was persecuted
in their own time.
Despite the censorious efforts of friends and family, ample evidence
survives that they loved other males. Homoeroticism in their
works was usually coded for the “initiated”, but was sometimes
John Lauritsen de-codes homoerotic references, reinterprets major works
of English Romanticism, and places all in historical context.
He states: “Love and sex between males is an ordinary, healthy part of
the human sexual repertoire. For too long,
biographers have falsified the love lives of the
Shelley-Byron men. The time has come to bring them into the
light of day.”
• To read a review by Jesse Monteagudo click here.
• To read a review by Caroline McCullagh in Mensa Bulletin click here.
• To read a review by "CrabbyPatty" (Gay Books Review) click here.
• To read a review by Kevin Jones (Amazon) click here.
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