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Lady Caroline Lamb: A Biography

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Lady Caroline Lamb, among Lord Byron's many lovers, stands out - vilified, portrayed as a self-destructive nymphomaniac - her true story has never been told. Now, Paul Douglass provides the first unbiased treatment of a woman whose passions and independence were incompatible with the age in which she lived. Taking into account a traumatic childhood, Douglass explores Lamb' Lady Caroline Lamb, among Lord Byron's many lovers, stands out - vilified, portrayed as a self-destructive nymphomaniac - her true story has never been told. Now, Paul Douglass provides the first unbiased treatment of a woman whose passions and independence were incompatible with the age in which she lived. Taking into account a traumatic childhood, Douglass explores Lamb's so-called 'erotomania' and tendency towards drug abuse and madness - problems she and Byron had in common. In this portrait, she emerges as a person who sacrificed much for the welfare of a sick child, and became an artist in her own right. Douglass illuminates her novels and poetry, her literary friendships, and the lifelong support of her husband and her publisher, John Murray.


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Lady Caroline Lamb, among Lord Byron's many lovers, stands out - vilified, portrayed as a self-destructive nymphomaniac - her true story has never been told. Now, Paul Douglass provides the first unbiased treatment of a woman whose passions and independence were incompatible with the age in which she lived. Taking into account a traumatic childhood, Douglass explores Lamb' Lady Caroline Lamb, among Lord Byron's many lovers, stands out - vilified, portrayed as a self-destructive nymphomaniac - her true story has never been told. Now, Paul Douglass provides the first unbiased treatment of a woman whose passions and independence were incompatible with the age in which she lived. Taking into account a traumatic childhood, Douglass explores Lamb's so-called 'erotomania' and tendency towards drug abuse and madness - problems she and Byron had in common. In this portrait, she emerges as a person who sacrificed much for the welfare of a sick child, and became an artist in her own right. Douglass illuminates her novels and poetry, her literary friendships, and the lifelong support of her husband and her publisher, John Murray.

30 review for Lady Caroline Lamb: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    An ancestor of Lady Diana Spencer, Lady Caroline Lamb was a tortured soul, most likely ADHD and bipolar. Although married to the indefatigable William, the great love of her life was Lord Byron. She was quite obsessed with him, learning how to forge his writing and using his poems as models for her own. She alienated her family through her rash actions, thoughtless of repurcussions and gossip. She did become a published author but did not meet with positive reviews, and again forced her in laws An ancestor of Lady Diana Spencer, Lady Caroline Lamb was a tortured soul, most likely ADHD and bipolar. Although married to the indefatigable William, the great love of her life was Lord Byron. She was quite obsessed with him, learning how to forge his writing and using his poems as models for her own. She alienated her family through her rash actions, thoughtless of repurcussions and gossip. She did become a published author but did not meet with positive reviews, and again forced her in laws to seek a separation on her husband's behalf. She became an alcoholic and addicted to laudanum, both actions that can now be viewed as self-medication. I can't feel sorry for Caroline. But it is hard for me to read about her poor choices as I am bipolar and can see myself in her: the obsessive chase of the man she loves; The seeking of attention; the inability to connect cause with effect. She was threatened with the asylum a couple of times, but at this time in history she would have faced the straight jacket and water therapy. She's fortunate that she had the constant support of William, even through her numerous affairs. The main redeeming quality is her parenting skill. Augustine was the one joy of her life. Being an epileptic and known for his tantrums he was difficult to care for, but not once did she agree to "lock him up". Due to this personal, loving care he lived until about 30 years old, much longer than the doctors gave him. 2017 Lenten Buddy Reading Challenge book # 16

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    After reading Glenarvon, I really had to read a biography of Lady Caroline Lamb; this is the most recent one I could find. Douglass is very sympathetic to Lamb while managing to remain fairly balanced in his presentation of her, and he doesn't allow Byron to take over, which would be all too easy, I think. He's good about quoting primary sources often (and now I really want to read the letters of Lady Harriet Cavendish, Caroline's cousin, which are alluringly witty and spiteful), and he gives a After reading Glenarvon, I really had to read a biography of Lady Caroline Lamb; this is the most recent one I could find. Douglass is very sympathetic to Lamb while managing to remain fairly balanced in his presentation of her, and he doesn't allow Byron to take over, which would be all too easy, I think. He's good about quoting primary sources often (and now I really want to read the letters of Lady Harriet Cavendish, Caroline's cousin, which are alluringly witty and spiteful), and he gives a lot of very interesting space to Caroline's literary aspirations (I had no idea she'd written any novels besides Glenarvon). However, I thought Douglass skimmed over things a little too often. He doesn't really address Caroline's problems with drugs and alcohol, and her final descent into illness and death is far too abrupt. It felt as though perhaps he was trying a little too hard to present her in a good light, and thus didn't address her very real problems as well as he might. Still, it's a readable, workmanlike biography and did shed a lot of light on her life and character, so it was worth reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kari Trenten

    A rich, three dimensional portrait is painted in words of a woman known to most of the world as Lord Byron’s doomed romantic interest. Paul Douglass fleshes Lady Caroline Lamb fully out, bringing into vivid relief her virtues, vices, and tragic situation, along with those of her intimates and the society they all lived in. This biography is an educational gem. It allowed me to experience the late 18th century and 19th century through the prism of one person’s experience, her family, and those wh A rich, three dimensional portrait is painted in words of a woman known to most of the world as Lord Byron’s doomed romantic interest. Paul Douglass fleshes Lady Caroline Lamb fully out, bringing into vivid relief her virtues, vices, and tragic situation, along with those of her intimates and the society they all lived in. This biography is an educational gem. It allowed me to experience the late 18th century and 19th century through the prism of one person’s experience, her family, and those whom interacted with both. I already had a keen interest in Byron, but my favorite parts of this book were the ones dealing with Caroline’s childhood before Byron, before the Lambs, depicting powerful feminine forces shaping the little girl’s life. I was fascinated by Caro’s mother, aunt, and grandmother, the way they pulled Caro’s development in different directions. Caro’s own fanciful nature, her love of Italian cupids, her fascination with doppelgangers were all qualities which keenly resonated with me, making me sympathize with her, seeing her for the first time as the complex and fascinating person she must have been, a woman quite capable of drawing attention herself, independent of Byron. Not that Byron wasn’t given his due. Nor was his strongest rival for Caro, Caro’s husband neglected in detail. Their strengths, passion for Caro, and hypocrisies stand in striking contrast with Caro’s own struggle as an artist and with a condition during a time when there was no medication to help. One could almost see Caroline as a tragic hero, fighting to keep her creative spirit alive against the society and the depression which sought to crush both. This book proved that truth and history can be as powerful and engrossing as any epic tale when shaped by a skilled author. Paul Douglass has channeled this power into beautiful prose, writing one of the best biographies I’ve ever been fortunate for read. For that, I offer him and ‘Lady Caroline Lamb’ my awed gratitude and five stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Whimsical

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I became interested in Lady Caroline Lamb after having read the biography of her mother Viscountess Harriet Bessborough and famous aunt Georgina Spencer Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire-- a colorful aristocratic family with strong connections to the London high society and top politicians of the times. The book was very well researched, and details Lady Caroline flamboyant lifestyle and her many affairs the most famous of which was with Lord Byron, author. In addition, the author provided in dep I became interested in Lady Caroline Lamb after having read the biography of her mother Viscountess Harriet Bessborough and famous aunt Georgina Spencer Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire-- a colorful aristocratic family with strong connections to the London high society and top politicians of the times. The book was very well researched, and details Lady Caroline flamboyant lifestyle and her many affairs the most famous of which was with Lord Byron, author. In addition, the author provided in depth analysis of her poems, books, plays and songs as well as the many scrapes with her family especially her in-laws, which included Lady Melbourne also infamous for her daliancies. Lady Caroline lived and played hard even though it was thought that she was frail, being quite small in statue and sickly. She seemed bent on proving to her self and everyone around her that she was as good at her craft as her famous lover, Lord Bryon whom she seem to have spent all her life chasing or trying to get back into his good graces. Sadly, both lives were cut short--he was killed and she died of kidney failure leaving behind her retarded son and her husband William Lamb,from whom she was first separated and later exiled.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jane Lark

    Loved learning all about Lady Caroline Lamb's life, some really interesting facts in here. I am now completely fanatical about her relationship with Lord Byron, and have progressed to reading Glenarvon, to discover more of what was going on in Lady Caroline Lambs head. This biography also implies that Glenarvon is really good for capturing an insight into real 19th Century life, brilliant. Definitely for me then.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Stanley

    Very sympathetic portrayal of Caroline Lamb. Provided insights into her that I never expected. Unfortunately, the writing is very dry.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lacrimosa Girl

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bella

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Powers Wersch

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Bennington

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen Tannenbaum

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cricket

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Hurley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marie Davis

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aria

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ting

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeannine wakefield

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deirdre

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katharina Kern

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Huggins

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janis Gage

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carol

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