George Gordon, Lord Byron



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George Gordon, Lord Byron
Lord Byron was born in London in 1788. His father, John, was a libertine who squandered the fortunes of his first wife as well as those of his second, Byron’s mother. Even his second marriage was unhappy because he went to France and died in 1791. Instead Byron’s mother was a passionate woman and very lunatic and incostant. So it was from his parents that the young Baron inhterited his instability and rebellion, and from his governess that inculcated him the calvinistic ideas of predestination to sin and damnation.
He was also lame, and that influed so much because he felt inferior than the others, but he was an handsome man, and a perfect rider and an expert in many sports. In 1798 his great uncle died and Byron went to Nottinghamshire and this marked a great change in his life. In fact he attended university and led a dissipated life.
In 1807 he published his fisrt work: a volume of lyrics called “Hours of Idleness” that was attacked by the Edinburgh review. In 1809 he took his seat in the house of lords and in same year he take a big journey all over Europe, where he found a lot of material of his works.
In 1811 he was introduced into the elegant whigs society of London, where he acquired notoriety. After a while, the publication of some of his works made him even more famous, emphsizing his image of romantic lover and at the same time of a melancholy and sceptic man.
In 1815 he married Anne Isabella Milbanke but his violent conduct made this marriage untolerable and Lady Byron left London. There was a great scandal and Byron was ridicolized by his old friends, for this reason Byron left England and spent the rest of his life abroad.
In Svizzerland he met the Shelleys. At the and of the year he went to the Italy, living through political activity and love affairs. his deepest relationship was that with Contess Guiccioli, a young and a beautiful married woman.
In 1819 he settled in Ravenna, where he took part in the carbonary conspiracy against the austrians but, after the failure of this moviment he was elected a memeber of London greek committee and, in 1823 he left for Greece, supporting the war against Turkey. In 1824 he died for a marsh fever.
Byron the romantic: he can be regarded as a romantic in:
• His life: he was an aristocrat and handsome, he was a successful poet, he was misunderstood by his fellows, he was solitary and he interpreted nature according to his personal feeling.
• His worship: of liberty and his rebellion against any form of sham and oppression
• His titanism: such as his exageration of passions and emotions
• His satanism: such as his ammiration for the devil
• His individualism: always introduce it into his own poetry, for example in one or other of his main characters
• His melancholy: derived from the discrepancy between the real and the ideal and from his calvinistic predestination
• His interest in history: expecially for fallen empires, thath simbolyzed decay and death.
• His nationalism: such as he took part in the carbonari moviment
• His appreciation of nature: he interpreted nature according to his personal feeling.
• His taste for exoticism and gothicism
• The contrast between dream and reality
• His lunatic character, whch led him to travel a lot and look for new experiences and sensations
• His realization of the baironic hero
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: is an autobiographical poem in4cantos. The poem is based on Byron’s travels and is interspersed with digressions and meditations. Childe Harold is another version of the Byronic Hero, moody and solitary, but it also contains strong autobiographical elements. It is written in Spensieran stanzas made up of nine lines. The first and the second cantos were published in 1812 and may be related to Byron’s own travels through various countries. The third was written in Switzerland in 1816, when Byron had already left England for voluntary exile, and shows a deeper power of self-analysis.The fourth, perhaps the finest of all, published in 1818, was composed in Italy and contains impressions of various Italian towns, together with their monuments and other beauties.
Don Juan: an epic satire in “ottava rima”. Divided into sixteen cantos, it is regarded by modern critics as the most successful of Byron’s works. It is a humorous poem, full of wit and brilliance, but also rich in scenes of pathos, idyll and tragedy. On the pretext of telling the story of Don Juan’s love adventures, Byron attacks the false respectability and social codes current in England at the time.
The two contrasting sides of Byron’s personality and poetry- the romantic and the satirical-can only be understood if we consider his background and temperament. He was a mixture of idealism and rationalism.He felt almost compelled by his high lineage to do great glorious things; he moreover had the fortune to be born in a heroic age. On the other hand, his “common sense” showed him the comedy as well as the tragedy of the contrast between dream and reality, thus increasing his sense of sceptical realism.