Conversations of Lord Byron with the Countess of Blessington by Marguerite Blessington, Countess of Blessington
When the Countess of Blessington (1789-1849) met the poet Lord Byron (1788-1824) in Genoa in 1823 she noted that 'the impression of the first few minutes disappointed me'. Despite this precarious start, they struck up a friendship and met nearly every day for two months. Byron had been living in the Italian port city since the previous autumn and Blessington and her family had arrived in April 1823. Her account of their conversations was not published until 1834, a decade after Byron's death. Blessington expresses candid opinions about the poet in this work, writing that Byron 'is a strange melange of good and evil, the predominancy of either depending wholly on the humour he may happen to be in'. Through her frankness, the author - herself a well-known writer who hosted a distinguished literary salon - also reveals much about herself and the literary world she and Byron inhabited.