Frances Wilson

Rebels With Causes

Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen

By

Fourth Estate 604pp £25 order from our bookshop

‘I WANT A hero,’ writes Byron in the first canto of Don Juan: ‘an uncommon want, / When every year and month sends forth a new one.. .’ Byron might have become a new one himself had he bled to death in Missolonghi because of battle wounds, rather than leeches. Aristocratic, appositional, misanthropic (and possessed of dash, immense energy, even greater confidence, and an image that lent itself to mass manipulation), he shares some of the heroic properties singled out by Lucy Hughes-Hallett in a book of whose irony and intelligence, lucidity and learning, and languorous, discursive quality the poet would have approved.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,