With this book, Fiona MacCarthy has produced the most important work on Byron in nearly half a century. Granted unprecedented access to many documents and artifacts unexamined by previous scholars, MacCarthy brings a fresh, engaging sensibility to a full appreciation of the poet's life and art. Byron: life and legend explores heretofore unrevealed aspects of Byron's complex creative existence, reassessing his poetry, reinterpreting his incomparable letters, and reconsidering the voluminous record left by the poet's contemporaries: his friends and family, his critics and supporters. MacCarthy's scope is comprehensive, giving due weight to each aspect of her subject's genius and covering the full range of his life, retracing his journeys through Italy, Turkey, and Greece and culminating in his heroic voyage to Missolonghi, where he died at the tragically early age of thirty-six. After his death, a pervasive Byronism swept Europe presented here is the fascinating evolution of his posthumous reputation and its influence on literature, architecture, painting, music, manners, sex and psyche. Full of energy and detail, subtlety and glamour, this new study reestablishes Byron as a charismatic figure in the forefront of European art.