The Byronic hero provides the title character of Heathcliff
from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights Rochester, and
It was 1987, I was an adolescent. A woman in my bed saw my ragged copy of “Interview with a Vampire” at the nightstand. The book was planted there to impress her. She picked it up, rolled her eyes and said “Another tired rework of the Byron-Shelly myth…”. I did not know what she was talking about, but I defended the gothic pop-lit like it was Nabokov. I made a quick mental note to check in to the comment.
The next week I was in the used bookstore pouring through a Byron Biography. I could recite “She Walks in Beauty” at age 12, but knew nothing of the man who wrote it, or the people he kept company with.
Some guys hung pictures of Brando, or Eastwood on their bedroom walls. I hung a Byron. He was my back pocket public persona. I would brood just to brood. I would wear the black trench coat like a cape. I practiced my stare and my dramatic flare. My friends who knew me through the late 80’s should be awarded the Purple Heart of Tolerance for dealing with it all. Now, much of my gothic black has faded to gray. It’s nice to know the dream is alive in so many sullen 19yr olds, in the dark corners of coffee houses.