Help! Can anyone tell me who Genevra was?
Good question. I have 10 biographies of Byron from soon after his death right up to date and Genevra cannot be found in the index of any.
There may be some clues, however, the sonnet was written on 13th December 1813. That was indeed a passionate year for Byron. He had had romances with Caroline Lamb, Lady Oxford, Lady Frances and was begiinign to pay court to Anabella Milbanke who was to become his wife for a short time. He was also, though this is disputed by some, in love with his half sister Augusta Leigh.
Caro and Lady Oxford were long over by December. Lady Frances was over in November. Augusta, though, was in London and staying with Byron on December 13th of 1813. It must be a strong possibility then that it was Augusta who was the inspiration for the two sonnets. No proof that I have and there may be other sources that will identify Genevra but it seems to me most likely that he was full of thought for Augusta at that time and so a reasonable deduction, I think.
Thanks Chesil. My search was going nowhere and your deduction is very plausible. Hopefully someone will provide the proof!
I saw something on the net, to the effect it was the same lady he called 'Zuleika,' in the 'Bride of Abydos', but Chesil's idea seems the more plausible.
I'm sorry that I don't have anything to contribute to this thread, but I did wonder about something: Chesil, why do you have 10 biographies of Byron?
I am a book collector, among other things, and so in addition to the many volumes of poetry that I have, I also have many poet biographies. Byron has been well covered down the years and it is interesting to see the biographer's prejudices coming out.
If I were to pick one, then I would choose the Marchand for it is a fine piece of work. Later biographies by Grosskurth and Eisler are superficial. The early biographies are rather too respectful. Quennell is OK, Noel prejudiced, Maurois interesting to see how a Frenchman portrays and saw Byron. Interesting to research in the absence of being able to review the source material.
I wondered about that too - The Bride of Abydos also ties in with the right dates.
Thanks for your contribution.