This is the first mention of Lord George Gordon Byron, a figure who features prominently throughout the book as David sets about combining his passions for music and romantic poetry into a chamber opera about the poet.
An extremely controversial figure, Byron had a relentless sexual appetite. He is certainly a character David seems to identify with, even if his own sexual adventures seem positively amateurish by comparison. Byron's hundreds of conquests included men, women, underage girls and his half-sister. In the documentary The Scandalous Adventures of Lord Byron, the poet was described as Britain's 'first international celebrity' due to the attention his exploits attracted. Women were said to swoon at the mere sight of him, although as he grew older he became fat and bloated, probably due to the excesses of his lifestyle.
Byron produced a fascinating body of work, and often used poetry to challenge people's preconceptions of morality. Always politically motivated, Byron supported the Luddites in the House of Lords. When he died at the age of 36 he was in the midst of organising forces to attack a Turkish-held fortress, in a bid to secure Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.