George Gordon Byron 1788 - 1824
• George Gordon Byron was born in London on 22 nd of January, 1788. His father was English, but his mother was of the Scottish origin. She was poor but noble, her name was Catherine Gordon. Byron’s mother and father.
• The boy was lame from the childhood and suffered a lot from it. He spent his childhood in the small town of Aberdeen in the eastern coast of Scotland. Soon his father died, leaving his wife and child in more than reduced circumstances.
• When Byron was ten, his great uncle died, and the boy inherited the title of Lord Byron and the family castle of Newstead Abbey. Lord Byron and his mother moved to Nottinghamshire where they got a small pension from the government.
• Lord Byron was educated in Cambridge at Trinity College.
• When he was twenty one, he became a member of the House of Lords.
• In 1809 he went on a two-year-long voyage to Portugal, Spain, Albania, Greece and Turkey. • He returned home in 1811. • In 1812 Byron published the first two parts of his major work “Child Harold’s Pilgrimage” in which he described his journey to foreign lands. Thus his literary activity began.
• It can be divided into four periods: 1. The London period (1812 -1816) “ Child Harold’s Pilgrimage” parts 1. 2 1812 “The Corsair” 1814 “Lara” 1814. 2. The Swiss period (May-October, 1816) “Child Harold’s Pilgrimage” part 3 “Manfred”
3. The Italian period (1816 -1823) “Child Harold’s Pilgrimage” part 4 “ Don Juan” 18181823 “Cain” 1821 “The Vision of Judgment” 1821. 4. The Greek period (1823 – 1824) Several lyric poems.
Child Harold’s Pilgrimage
One Fair Spirit of my Minister
Drawings made by Byron
The London Period • All the periods of his literary activity were marked by the corresponding periods of his political life. • During the first period, which was called the London period and which brought him fame and universal acclaim after the publication of his “Child Harold’s Pilgrimage” in 1812, Lord Byron delivered his Parliamentary speeches in the House of Lords.
• Byron was a peer of the realm. His first speech was in defense of the Luddites (industrial workers who destroyed the equipment as a protest against unemployment and low pay. His main ideas were expressed in his “Song of the Luddites”.
Lady Byron • Later Byron spoke in favour of the oppressed Irish people. His speeches brought him a lot of enemies from the reactionary circles. They hated him and began to persecute Byron. Moreover he was unhappy in his private life. In 1815 he parted with his wife. Byron wrote his poem “When We Two Parted”.
The Swiss and Italian Periods • In May 1816 Byron had to go to Switzerland where he made friends with Piercy Byshe Shelley – another progressive romantic of that time. The Italian period was the most creative one. Byron wrote the tragedy “Cain”, several satirical poems.
• In Italy Byron participated in the political movement for the liberation of Italy. The defeat of the “Carbonaro” uprising in 1821 was a heavy blow to the great fighter for liberty. • He left Italy for Greece in summer 1823. Byron went there to fight for the liberation of that country from the Turkish oppression. • Even during his Greek period Byron couldn’t do without writing.
• But he managed to write only several lyrical poems. • He died on April 19, 1824 of a dangerous fever. He was only 36. Byron's heart was buried in Greece, because the Greeks considered him their national hero. Byron’s body was brought to England buried in Westminster Abbey.