This essay discusses the implications of a curious episode from Byron's life in Italy. Encouraged
by Venetian intellectuals, Byron engaged in a serious scholarly investigation of
the history of a singular eighteenth-century literary figure, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
The contribution of Byron's research to Montagu scholarship was valuable and precocious,
and his project of recovering letters by Montagu was of such significance that his
friends were inspired to take it up after his death. Despite Byron's wish that his substantial
discoveries be published, they were not included in biographies of Montagu until the
twentieth century. Nevertheless, the episode reveals much about Byron himself, illustrating
unexpected sides of the poet as a literary historian and an aficionado of the writing of
a very distinctive woman.