Were Byron, Keats, and Shelley gay?

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Were Byron, Keats, and Shelley gay?

Postby guest » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:53 am

This is something I've been wondering. . . All bios of Byron, Keats, and Shelley I have read have said they were pariahs for their "unconventional lifestyles". I saw pictures of them in my english book, and they look gay to me; Byron very flamboyant, and Shelley and Keats very feminine-looking. I have read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and I believe it possible that a love affair between Shelley and Keats at least, if not Byron also, could have made her disturbed enough to write a book like that. It seems clear that the person who wrote that was starved for affection. I know all three of them had love affairs (with women) but I know from experience that that doesn't necessarily mean they're gay. I've looked everywhere for an answer to this and I can't find it! Anyone know an answer? Thanks!

Re: Were Byron, Keats, and Shelley gay?

Postby Despondence » Sat Apr 19, 2003 11:49 am

guest wrote: (snip) I've looked everywhere for an answer to this and I can't find it! Anyone know an answer? Thanks!

If there really was an answer in the affirmative to this question, I would have thought you'd have found it by now and we'd have heard about it long since. It seems unlikely to me that any one of this trio would have been gay, in today's meaning of the word. Whereas I can't vouch for Byron or Shelly though, there's really nothing (that I know of) to indicate that JK was gay.

I think you're being overly melodramatic. To say that "they look gay to me" makes me wonder how many gay persons you know. I know a few, very good friends of mine, and I would not be able to pick them out of a crowd based upon their looks. I mean, these guys (BSK) were poets, not athletes, during the peak of the romantic era in 18th-19th century England - what do you expect for looks?

And "a love affair between Shelly and Keats"? May I ask when? How do you, from the bio of Shelly and Keats, come to this conclusion? Shelly's love affairs are well known, and Keats' lack of ditto equally so. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing your speculation, but I think you must make a better case.

Postby corydroid » Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:59 pm

They're not gay, they're just British. They pretty much all looked like that then.
"Oh sister, O daughter of Giuki, O child of my mother's womb
, By what death shall the Niblungs perish, what day is the day of their doom?"-Hogni
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Postby kara » Fri Feb 06, 2004 4:55 am

I don't think that Keats was inclined to sleep with men as well as women. However, I think that it's fairly well documented that Byron did indulge in some homosexual behaviour while still holding a preference for women. He is said (as all of this is going to be speculation on some level since they're not here to tell us) to have had at least one love affair with a man, the first one stemming as far back as his school days. It was not Shelley that was ostracized in british society as much as it was Byron. Shelley was guilty by association I think, as he and Byron were quite close. But not THAT close if you catch my drift. Byron wasn't too discriminating. He was notoriously promiscuous, and he did have a kid with his half-sister afterall!
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