The Byron Journal

‘D—-d corkscrew staircases’: Byron's Hangovers

The Byron Journal (2012), 40, (1), 1–15.

Abstract

This essay examines the odd richness of a Byronic hangover. It firstly provides a detailed account of Byron's hangovers as documented in his correspondence to Hobhouse, Moore and others before situating what Byron knew about his constitution in relation to contemporary medical accounts of the liver and stomach. It proceeds to argue that for Byron the morning after a night of heavy indulgence was a reminder of the interpenetration of body and soul. The essay then applies this discussion to the period of uncertainty surrounding the composition of the early cantos of Don Juan, exploring the way in which the grammar of a hangover becomes a way to encounter and engage with the moral squeamishness of readers, who Murray feared might find it difficult to ‘stomach’ Byron's satirical turn following the commercial success of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.

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Author details

Shears, Jonathon