The Oxford Byron Society was was founded in 1985 by Danny Henrey and Richard Schulze, who were graduate students in English at Trinity College at the time. For the inaugural dinner, held at Trinity, attendees were asked to produce Byronic verse, a tradition that has continued since. Although the interpretation of the word Byronic has tended to be relatively loose, some principles have been established, namely (i) the rhyme and scansion must follow one of Byron’s own, or one of his contemporaries (Coleridge, it seems, being especially popular) (ii) it will most often have a satirical content, more often than not directed at others present at the dinner; (iii) strict adherence to truthfulness is not normally a requirement. Over the years 22 different authors have written 91 poems and 14 prose pieces, most of which are collected here.
Doge’s note: This Byron Society (unlike the others) exists purely because we think that home-grown entertainment is, or at least can be, the best. I have had fun, and if others have had fun too, then that is even better. We recognise that some of the people mentioned, frequently those who were graduate students in Oxford around 1985 have now risen to positions of responsibility and/or prominence. There is no intention to cause offence or embarrassment but if you are one of these people and feel that something written about you is unacceptably offensive or embarrassing then all you have to do is to send me one e-mail (NB: remove the numbers) and I will remove your name.
[Works by Danny Henrey] [Works about Danny Henrey]
Richard “Mad Jack” Schulze is a man who likes to drive his vintage Aston Martin in the fast lane of life’s tollway. Suave, handsome, genteel and sophisticated, women knew that they were just fools in the hands of this seasoned seducer. Richard now works in his father’s eye practise in Savannah, Georgia, U.S., but remembers his Oxford days with fondness, his spacious pad being adorned with pictures of his many achievements in rowing, croquet and seduction when he was at Trinity College. Richard felt a failure when he reached the age of 37 as he never intended to outlive the society’s patron. After considerable soul-searching, this seems to have resulted in a lifestyle change. For example, he has now been with the same partner (an attractive nurse called Donna) for some years. Update: Richard and Donna were married in April 2004, and now have a daughter, Sarah Jane.
[Works by Richard Schulze] [Works about Richard Schulze]
Chris “Childe Harold” Oakley, The Doge, is a man who likes to drive his Vauxhall Ampera in the fast lane of life’s motorway. Despite this, he is a person with exceptionally high moral standards, and it is deeply disappointing that some of his fellow Byronists seem to feel the need to attribute goodness knows what manner of sexual peccadilloes to this upstanding individual. Chris can be contacted by email (NB: remove the numbers), and will happily engage in correspondence - on wholesome, moral topics. He also has a home page (which, needless to say, is a domain of uncompromising decency and propriety). Chris recently unearthed a tenuous connection with Lord B: Claire Clairmont, stepsister of Mary Shelley, who had a child by Lord B., was also friends with Margaret Moore, Lady Mount Cashell. Amongst the innumerable illegitimate offspring of Lady Mount Cashell’s thoroughly Byronic brother, George King, 3rd Earl of Kingston, is Chris’s great-grandmother, Mary Morison King.
[Works by Chris Oakley] [Works about Chris Oakley]
Steve “Prometheus” Hoey, The Shamen, a man who liked to drive his Hyundai Azera in the fast lane of life’s tollway, is, regrettably, no longer with us, having battled cancer unsuccessfully. Gone, maybe, but not forgotten. Terminally whacky, Steve was the man of whom once was said, “Steve is a whacky guy". After Harvard and Oxford, he went into management consulting, explaining: “The AIDS risk and tougher laws are two problems that the modern-day vampire has to solve; in the first case, there is the golden rule: don’t share victims , and for the second, management consultancy, as a form of blood-drinking, is perfectly legal outlet.” After eight years of this leechcraft, Steve then followed his artistic muse to the California Institute of Arts, and thence to San Diego, to teach harmony to surf dudes. He finally got his Ph.D. in music composition at some advanced age, and continued in the area, doing composition, playing his recorders (he had many) and doing consultancy jobs to pay the bills until his untimely death in early 2022.
[Works by Steve Hoey] [Works about Steve Hoey]
Fiona “Countess of Auchtermuchty” Gregory-Smith, is a lady who likes to drive her VW Polo in the fast lane of life’s motorway. Scandal has followed every step of her career as a schoolteacher, although many are the young ladies who are appreciative of the dubious extra-curricular activities organised by Miss. Miss is in fact now a Mrs., being married to an architect, and raising a family in Shropshire.
[Works by Fiona Gregory-Smith] [Works about Fiona Gregory-Smith]
Raymond “Beppo” Paretzky is a man who likes to drive his Mini Metro in the fast lane of life’s tollway. A true Byronist, if Raymond did not often “score" during his time at Oxford, then it was not for want of trying. Times have changed, though, and Raymond is now working as a lawyer (a very un-Byronic profession, as I’m sure he realises) and raising a family in Washington D.C. However, the old ways: the immoderate quaffing, the reckless humour are not completely gone.
[Works by Raymond Paretzky] [Works about Raymond Paretzky]
Jenny “Lady Caroline Lamb” Krasner is a lady who rides yellow cabs in the fast lane of the 5th Avenue of life. In her workshop in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Jenny expresses the deepest feelings of her profoundly Byronic soul through welding. That’s right, welding. She explains: "When I’m in a good mood I like to weld little sculptures of children playing, jonquils, tulips and fantasies of embroidery in wire, but when I’m mad about something then it’s blades, barbed wire, and don’t touch that. The negative ... the id, my attempts to represent my dark, instinctive self ... I told you, leave that fucking thing alone! Jeez, Louise!" Jenny would qualify for Byron Society membership on the basis of her love life alone, which has been suitably varied and turbulent.
[Works by Jenny Krasner] [Works about Jenny Krasner]
Richard “Mazeppa” Todd is a man who likes to drive his Ford
Granada in the fast lane of life’s motorway. As Richard is noticeably deficient
in such basic human qualities as compassion, decency, honesty, restraint, tact,
self-control, etc. it will not come as a surprise to the reader to learn that
his profession is that of lawyer. His post of Keeper of the Byronic Statutes
means that he is the one you will have to face in court if you try to sue us
for defamation. Whilst this may seem a reasonable course of action as much of
the material here is of a defamatory nature, we warn you that any loss of
sexual opportunities, career advancement or whatever in consequence of our
scribblings is paltry compared with the trauma of having to face Richard in
court. However, the choice is yours.
Richard is now married and living in Essex. He has four children. His eldest, Oliver, is named after Cromwell, the great republican and abuser of the downtrodden peasantry - Richard’s principal role model.
[Works by Richard Todd] [Works about Richard Todd]
Robert “Manfred” Harington is a man who likes to drive his Vauxhall Nova in the fast lane of life’s Motorway. Robert and his wife Pam (nee Nadash) are in the New York now. Robert is working in publishing, and Pam is working as a journalist.
[Works by Robert Harington] [Works about Robert Harington]
Anthony “Polidori” Mellors is a man who likes to ride his Raleigh Carlton (illegally) in the fast lane of life’s motorway. Anthony did a thesis on modern lit. crit. and is now a temporary lecturer in 20th century literature at Durham university. He edits a literary journal called Fragmente .
[Works by Anthony Mellors] [Works about Anthony Mellors]
Gregory “Corsair” Klyve is a man who likes to ride his Raleigh (illegally) in the fast lane of life’s motorway. If he had a title and money, then his Byronic credentials would be second only to those of our patron. If you want to help him achieve this state by sponsoring him, then he would very much like to hear from you. Gregory was head of Classics at Leys school in Cambridge until recently, a post occupied at one time by William Henry Balgarnie, the schoolmaster upon which the tale “Goodbye Mr. Chips” was based. He has written The Legend of Perseus with Chris Oakley in 1988, and a Latin Grammar in 2002. He is now living in Devon, where he teaches Classics over Skype.
[Works by Gregory Klyve] [Works about Gregory Klyve]
And there’s more ... those who strutted and fretted but once upon the Byronic stage. Their poesy is here: