My life these days is almost 100% schoolwork, as I am currently teaching five classes at two different colleges. (I spend my entire weekends grading; it’s exhausting.) This week, my literature class is going to start on the Romantics, and I was doing some reading about old friends like John Keats, Mary Wollstonecraft, and William Wordsworth.
One would think that this would in no way be relevant to this blog, so imagine my surprise when I ran across the following passage, in the Norton Anthology’s entry on Lord Byron:
Byron was extraordinarily handsome… Because of a constitutional tendency to obesity, however, he was able to maintain his looks only by resorting again and again to a starvation diet of biscuits, soda water, and strong purgatives.
Even before we had skinny celebrities on the cover of tabloids, way back at the turn of the nineteenth century, Lord Byron of all people was starving himself. Wow. Kind of crazy, no?
Who please, the more because they preach in vain,–
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after.
-George Gordon, Lord Byron
Posted by mo pie