Lord Byron
English Poet
1788 - 1824

Lord Byron with Albanian costume
(Thomas Phillips, 1813)

Lord Byron

Museo alemán de epilepsia en Kork


In his aphorism Self-flight, Nietzsche writes: "Consider that four of the men who were most thirsty for action in all history were epileptics (namely Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed and Napoleon), and that Byron was also subject to this infliction."

Did Lord Byron really have epilepsy? If one searches through the biographies of the greatest English Romantic poet - either to find evidence to support or prove wrong Nietzsche's opinion - one finds passages in a few places which suggest that Byron might possibly have suffered epileptic seizures.

At the age of 16, when Byron heard that the woman whom he loved was considering getting married, he "fell prey to violent convulsions". The poet himself remarks: "I almost suffocated." On reading the description of such events, one immediately thinks of psychogenic seizures, especially when one remembers the poet's sensitive, emotional and neurotic character.

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