Subject: Explicit Sexuality
Artist: Lord Byron (1788 - 1824)
Confronting Bodies: Friends of Byron, publishers
Date of Action: 1819
Description of Artwork: The poem Don Juan is about a man who appears to be a philanderer but is really innocent and at the mercy of events and the whims of women. The poem is believed to tell the story of Byron's love affairs.
The Incident: Byron's friends and associates advised him not to publish the first two cantos (divisions of a long poem) of Don Juan because of their indecency and their similarity to a scandal that Byron had recently been involved in. He had been engaged to a woman named Annabella Milbanke, though he had numerous love affairs, one of which was with his half-sister. This affair was well known throughout England.
Results of Incident: Byron chose to publish the first two cantos annonymously. The later cantos were published under his own name. He then vowed never to consult those who advised him ever again.
Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones