plotters Lord Byron's Wife, by Malcolm Elwin (Macdonald:45s.). Portrait of Guy Fawkes, by Henry Garnett (Robert Hale, I8s.). NEVER has Fate brought together two such ill-assorted "lovers" as the subject of this first study and her husband; few unions can have lasted for a shorter period than their one miserable year: no separation can have led to more varied speculation as to its causes, or been more inevitable. Both parties were spoilt in childhood, and complete egoists as adults. Neither was suited for married life. The author has studied his elusive subject conclusively and exhaustively. Readers will endorse the common condemnation of Byron for his undoubtedly callous, if not insane cruelty. But they may well have unexpected sympathy for a roan yoked to a woman who could make her passion for self-justification into a life-long orgy of self pity and of recriminations only too often based on 'inferences' of a very subjective kind. This monumental book is a really notable contribution to the study of Byron, both as man and poet. as also of considerable value to the study of the social and the domestic history of his times.
The "Portrait of Guy Fawkes" is an "experiment" in biography which is clearly the work of one whose experience has been obviously mainly in the field of fiction. The early chapters have rather too much of supposition quite divorced from the very meagre evidence. ' One valuable and well established point is the precise place of Fawkes birth, and his family background. We are on much firmer ground with the personalities of the conspirators and the details of their plot and their motives. A good deal of myth is exploded, e.g. that they schemed for a foreign power. The exact location of the mysterious "vault" is at last made clear. The character of Fawkes emerges clearly and also his reasons for his misguided sense of devotion, which is something quite different from that blind zeal of the relee ous and political "renegado" which is the popular conception of the hero of bonfire night. The book is well illustrated, with some very useful appendices. It is a quite valuable contribution to a subject hitherto neglected or badly misconceived. J.A.G.