The aim of The Female Romantics is to show how women’s fiction of the earlier nineteenth century influenced, interacted with, or responded to the poetry and life story of Lord Byron. Byronism encapsulated the dangers of Romantic individualism: seducing women readers and challenging women writers with its allure of sexual freedom and defiance of religious orthodoxy. This study moves the critical agenda on from the polarizing of egoistic male Romantic poets and their female novelist peers, often stereotyped as domestic and social. Byron’s mature works often engaged in rivalrous dialogue with the novels of his female friends and contemporaries, such as Caroline Lamb, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen, whose critiques of Romantic egotism helped prompt his own self-parody in Don Juan. Feminism and libertinism is a binary opposition which originated in Britain at the time of the Restoration, when two sorts of revolutionary individualism clashed—that of Protestant non-conformism and that of aristocratic libertarian freethinkers.