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'Outrageous' Byron letters set for auction

28th September 2009

A collection of Lord Byron's letters to a close friend is to go under the hammer, laying bare controversial details about the Romantic poet's life.

The letters were sent to Victorian clergyman Francis Hodgson, but Byron did not allow his friend's vocation to inhibit his revelations, according to the Guardian.

Byron, who shot to fame in 1812 with 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage', includes references to his affair with serving girl Susan Vaughan and how he ended their romance when she began seeing another man.

The collection also contains criticism of leading poets Robert Southey and William Wordsworth, with Byron labelling the latter 'Turdsworth' for his criticism of Alexander Pope.

Gabriel Heaton, a specialist with Sotheby's, which is auctioning the letters, told the newspaper: 'Byron clearly enjoyed writing slightly outrageous things to a clergyman, but you do also get a very strong sense of the depth of friendship they had. There's a real intimacy.'

Fans of the Romantics will have something else to look forward to later this year, when new film Bright Star is released in November.

The film details the secret romance which developed between poet John Keats and the fashionable girl-next-door Fanny Brawne in 1818.

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