Category Archives: Literary Dating Tips

Janos Bátky’s guide to romance

After the success of my previous literary dating tip, culled from the pages of Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, I thought it was time for more guidance for the lovelorn from the pages of fiction.

Here we have Janos Bátky, narrator and protagonist of Antal Szerb’s The Pendragon Legend:

If you wish to attain intimacy with members of the opposite sex, you make an effort to share your past with them, to make them no longer strangers, newcomers to your life.

I would perhaps advise caution if your past is particularly bizarre or distasteful however.

This advice is likely to be of particular utility to the English, for as Bátky also observes when considering the comparative approaches of the Englishman and the Continental in matters of love:

… she listened in respectful silence to my fumbling compliments – not something Englishmen lavish on their women. With us, if we are even slightly drawn to a woman, we will tell her we adore her. An Englishman hopelessly in love will merely observe: “I say, I do rather like you”.

Wodehouse couldn’t have put it better.


Filed under Literary Dating Tips, Szerb, Antal

Lord Byron’s dating tips for boys

So, I’m currently reading Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. It’s a blend of epic poem, travel guide and Napoleonic-period political commentary, with plenty of asides thrown in. It’s a surprisingly fun read.

When I write it up (probably in two parts, which is how it was published), I’ll have some relevant quotes, but there was one that I didn’t think would make it into my writeup but that’s worth sharing anyway. Here’s Byron on how to be successful with women:

Not much he kens, I ween, of woman’s breast,
Who thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs;
What careth she for hearts when once possess’d?
Do proper homage to thine idol’s eyes;
But not too humbly, or she will despise
Thee and thy suit, though told in moving tropes:
Disguise ev’n tenderness, if thou art wise;
Brisk Confidence still best with woman copes;
Pique her and soothe in turn, soon Passion crowns thy hopes.

Byron of course was applying his advice to wooing women, but in our more egalitarian age I’m sure he’d think it equally applicable the other way round.

So, there you have it. Now, if only someone had told me as a teenager…


Filed under 19th Century, Byron, Lord, Literary Dating Tips, Poetry