- Slides: 22
George Gordon Lord Byron 1788 - 1824 Lord Byron’s signature on a column of Poseidon’s Temple (Cape Sounion, Greece)
Life • George Gordon Byron was born in London, on January 22, 1788 • His mother was a Scottish heiress and George spent part of his chidhood in Aberdeen, Scotland • He was born with a club-foot and became extremely sensitive about his lameness • At the age of 10 he unexpectedly inherited his great-uncle’s title and fortune and was simply known as Lord Byron
Life • His father died so George and his mother got back to England • In 1801 he went to Harrow, one of England’s most prestigious schools • In 1803 he probably met Augusta, his half sister and his lover • In 1805 he entered Trinity College and indulged in the conventional vices of undergraduates there.
Life • On reaching his majority, in 1809, Byron took his seat in the House of Lords, and then embarked with a close friend on a grand tour, visiting Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, Malta, Greece, Albania, Turkey.
Life • In Greece he began Childe Harolde’s Pilgrimage, a narrative poem, published between 1812 and 1818. The term childe is a medieval form meaning “a candidate for knighthood”. • The poem contains autobiographical elements. Byron travelled through the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea between 1809 and 1811. Lord Byron in Greece
Life • In 1814 his half-sister Augusta gave birth to a daughter, almost certainly Byron’s. Annabella Milbanke Augusta Leigh • In 1815 he married Annabella Milbanke. Byron called her his “princess of parallelograms”, since she was interested in mathematics.
Life • They had a daughter, Ada Augusta, but soon their marriage failed and the couple divorced in 1816. By that time their daughter was just a few months old. • In the same year Byron left England never to return. Ada Augusta Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was the only legitimate child of the poet. She was a mathematician and created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a computing machine.
Life • Byron reached Switzerland settled at Geneva, near Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Godwin, who had eloped, and Mary Godwin’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, with whom Byron had begun an affair in England. • At the end of the summer the Shelley party left for England, where Claire gave birth to Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Allegra, in January 1817. Claire Clairmont Allegra Byron
Life • In 1819 Byron departed for Italy, where he began to write his masterpiece, Don Juan, which remained unfinished. • Following an Italian lover, Teresa Gamba Guiccioli, in Ravenna he joined the secret society of the Carbonari and its revolutionary aims to free Italy from Austrian rule. Teresa Gamba Guiccioli, was a countess and a writer whose family supported the Carbonari
Life • In July 1823 Byron left Italy for Cephalonia, in Greece. He sent £ 4, 000 of his own money to prepare the Greek fleet for sea service and then sailed for Missolonghi on December 29 to join the leader of the forces in western Greece, who were fighting against Ottoman Empire.
Life Byron made efforts to unite the various Greek factions and took personal command of a brigade, but a serious illness weakened him and in 1824 he contracted the fever from which he died at Missolonghi on April 19. Lord Byron on His Deathbed, by Joseph Denis Odevaere (c. 1826).
Life Deeply mourned, he became a symbol of disinterested patriotism and a Greek national hero. Lord Byron’s Monument at Missolonghi
Byron monuments Statue of Lord Byron in Athens. Byron's Stone in Telepelene, Albania "Byron's Grotto" in Porto Venere, Italy, named in his honour, because according to a local legend he meditated here and drew inspiration from this place for his literary works.
Childe Harolde’s Pilgrimage • The poem has four cantos written in Spenserian stanzas, which consists of eight iambic pentameter lines followed by one alexandrine (a twelve syllable iambic line), and has rhyme pattern ABABBCBCC. LXXVIII Oh Rome! My country! City of the soul! The orphans of the heart must turn to thee, Lone mother of dead empires! And control In their shut breasts their pretty misery. What are our woes and sufferance? Come and see The cypress, hear the owl, and plod your way O’er steps of broken thrones and temples, Ye! Whose agonies are evils of a day – A world is at our feet as fragile as our clay.
Childe Harolde’s Pilgrimage • The poem narrates the travels and reflections of a worldweary young man, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, who looks for distraction in foreign lands • It was an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras • It provided the first example of the Byronic hero Joseph Mallord William Turner, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Italy exhibited 1832
The Byronic Hero. He is • An exile, an outcast or an outlaw, with a troubled past • Arrogant, cynical, disrespectful of rank and privilege • Dark, mysterious, magnetic, and charismatic • Self-critical and introspective • Sophisticated and well-educated He shows • A distaste for social institutions and norms • Ability to adapt • Self-destructive behavior • Bipolar tendencies, or moodiness He has • High level of intelligence and perception • Powers of seduction, attraction and sexual dominance
Don Juan 1818 First edition of the first two Cantos • Don Juan is a long narrative and satiric poem based on the legend of Don Juan • It is divided up into 16 parts, termed ‘cantos’. • It begins with a dedication to Robert Southey and William Wordsworth—both famous poets of the time. • It is written in groups of eight lines of iambic pentameter that follow an ABABABCC rhyme scheme, which is known as ottava rima.
Don Juan – the story • The storyline begins with Juan’s upbringing and his education. The child of Donna Inez and Don Jose of Seville, Don Juan is sexually precocious. At 16 he has an affair with a married woman, Donna Julia, who is his mother’s best friend. Don Alfonso, Donna Julia’s husband, discovers the affair and Don Juan is sent away from Seville to Cadiz.
Don Juan – the story • En route to Cadiz, Don Juan is shipwrecked, the only survivor of the vessel, and left alone until he encounters Haidee, daughter of the pirate Lambro. He has an affair with Haidée, but Lambro’s men find both Haidee and Don Juan so the lovers are parted and subsequently Haidée dies of a broken heart. Brown (Ford Madox): The Finding of Don Juan by Haidee
Don Juan – the story • Don Juan is captured and sold into slavery in Constantinople, where the Sultan’s wife hides him in the harem, disguised as a woman. Juan manages to escape, then serves as a mercenary on the side of the Russians in the Russo-Turkish conflict. Constantinople
Don Juan – the story • Don Juan then joins the Russian army; there he proves himself an able warrior. The Russian army goes to St. Petersburg, where Don Juan is presented to Catherine the Great who invites him to join her court. Here he becomes her favourite. • When Juan falls sick, physicians recommend a change of climate; so Catherine sends him to England as an ambassador. Thus begin a series of shorter adventures among the British aristocracy. Catherine the Great
Don Juan – the protagonist • Don Juan is a flat character; he is young, of a sweet disposition, and simultaneously innocent and promiscuous. He is the passive recipient of the erotic attentions of a succession of aggressive women of power. • The adventures of Don Juan themselves are poetic re-imaginings of Byron’s own relationships with the women in his life. • Don Juan is a mock epic in that its protagonist, while often heroic, is in fact naïve and his adventures almost entirely the result of accident. • The tone of the poem is comic and a satire of the classical epics.