Pg. 364 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:
On which Markson responded with the words:
“That’s pretty damned irrelevant.”
To the paragraph:
“Byron, the Romantic exile, did England a favor. Energy and beauty together are burning, godlike, destructive. Byron created the youth-cult that would sweep Elvis Presley to uncomfortable fame. In our affluent commercial culture, this man of beauty was able to ignore politics and build his empire elsewhere. A ritual function of contemporary popular culture: to parallel and purify government. The modern charismatic personality has access to movies, television, and music, with their enormous reach. Mass media act as a barrier protecting politics, which would otherwise be unbalanced by the entrance of men of epochal narcissistic glamour. Today’s Byronic man of beauty is a Presley who dominates the imagination, not a Buckingham who disorders a state.”
The “irrelevance” of the Elvis Presley mention aside, here are a couple things about “Byron, the Romantic exile” that Markson thought to put in Reader’s Block:
“Byron went into permanent exile from England in late April of 1816, near Passover. One of the last London friends he saw was the composer Isaac Nathan.
Who brought him a farewell gift of matzos.” (Pg. 83)
“Byron was only thirty-six when he died, yet had already grown overweight and flaccid, with thinning hair and abominable teeth.
Nonetheless every second town in Greece would name a public square after him.” (Pg. 42)