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He created an immensely popular Romantic hero—defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt—for which, to many, he seemed the model. He is also a Romantic paradox: His faceted personality found expression in satire, verse narrative, ode, lyric, speculative drama, historical tragedy, confessional poetry, dramatic monologue, seriocomic epic, and voluminous correspondence, written in Spenserian stanzas, heroic couplets, blank verse, terza rima, ottava rima, and vigorous prose.

In his dynamism, sexuality, self-revelation, and demands for freedom for oppressed people everywhere, Byron captivated the Western mind and heart as few writers have, stamping upon nineteenth-century letters, arts, politics, even clothing styles, his image and name as the embodiment of Romanticism.

In the summer of 1789 Byron moved with his mother to Aberdeen. His half sister had earlier been sent to her maternal grandmother. Emotionally unstable, Catherine Byron raised her son in an atmosphere variously colored by her excessive tenderness, fierce temper, insensitivity, and pride. She was as likely to mock his lameness as to consult doctors about its correction. From his Presbyterian nurse Byron developed a lifelong love for the Bible and an abiding fascination with the Calvinist doctrines of innate evil and predestined salvation.

Early schooling instilled a devotion to reading and especially a "grand passion" for history that informed much of his later writing. He enjoyed the role of landed nobleman, proud of his coat of arms with its mermaid and chestnut horses surmounting the motto "Crede Byron" "Trust Byron".

An "ebullition of passion" for his cousin Margaret Parker in 1800 inspired his "first dash into poetry. At Harrow 1801-1805he excelled in oratory, wrote verse, and played sports, even cricket.

After a quack doctor subjected him to painful, futile treatments for his foot, London specialists prescribed a corrective boot, later fitted with a brace, which the patient often refused to wear. He also formed the first of those passionate attachments with other, chiefly younger, boys that he would enjoy throughout his life; before reaching his teen years he had been sexually initiated by his maid.

ENGL404: English Romantic Poetry

There can be little doubt that he had strong bisexual tendencies, though relationships with women seem generally, but not always, to have satisfied his emotional needs more fully. In the summer of 1803 he fell so deeply in love with his distant cousin, the beautiful-and engaged-Mary Chaworth of Annesley Hall, that he interrupted his education for a term to be near her.

His unrequited passion found expression in such poems as "Hills of Annesley" written 1805"The Adieu" written 1807"Stanzas to a Lady on Leaving England" written 1809and "The Dream" written 1816. Years later he told Thomas Medwin that all his "fables about the celestial nature of women" originated from "the perfection" his imagination created in Mary Chaworth.

Early in 1804 he began an intimate correspondence with his half sister, Augusta, five years his senior. He asked that she consider him "not only as a Brother" but as her "warmest and most affectionate Friend.

During "the most romantic period of [his] life," he experienced a "violent, though pure, love and passion" for John Edleston, a choirboy at Trinity two years younger than he. Intellectual pursuits interested him less than such London diversions as fencing and boxing lessons, the theater, demimondes, and gambling. Living extravagantly, he began to amass the debts that would bedevil him for years.

In Southwell, where his mother had moved in 1803, he prepared his verses for publication. In November 1806 he distributed around Southwell his first book of poetry. Fugitive Pieces, printed at his expense and anonymously, collects the poems inspired by his early infatuations, friendships, and experiences at Harrow, Cambridge, and elsewhere. When his literary adviser, the Reverend John Thomas Becher, a local minister, objected to the frank eroticism of certain lines, Byron suppressed the volume.

A revised and expurgated selection of verses appeared in January 1807 as Poems on Various Occasions, in an edition of one hundred copies, also printed privately and anonymously.

Missing were the original flashes of eroticism and satire that had enlivened poems in the private editions that were omitted from Hours of Idleness. In "On a Change of Masters at a Great Public School," he employs heroic couplets for satiric effect in the manner—if without the polish—of Alexander Pope, a model for Byron throughout his career.

In obviously autobiographical poems Byron experiments with personae, compounded of his true self and of fictive elements, which both disclose and disguise him. Groups of verses on a single subject show his understanding of the effectiveness of multiple points of view. It was as a published poet that Byron returned to Cambridge in June 1807.

Besides renewing acquaintances, he formed an enduring friendship with John Cam Hobhouse—his beloved "Hobby. The scornfully worded review had a beneficial effect. Stung and infuriated, Byron set aside mawkish, derivative, occasional verse and began avenging himself through satire, expanding his poetic commentary on present-day "British Bards," started the previous year, to include a counterblast against "Scotch Reviewers.

A Satire, was published anonymously in an edition of one thousand copies. His main target is the critics. From these "harpies that must be fed" he singles out for condemnation "immortal" Francis Jeffrey, whom he mistakenly assumed had written the offending comments on Hours of Idleness in the Edinburgh Review. The satire created a stir and found general favor with the reviewers. By May English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers had gone into a second, revised and enlarged edition in which Byron abandoned his anonymity.

Third and fourth editions followed in 1810. He suppressed a fifth edition in 1812, as he had come to know and respect some of his victims and to regret many of his critical and personal jabs. The overall aim, as stated in the preface, is "to make others write better.

His admiration for Pope never wavered, nor did he ever totally abandon the heroic couplet and Augustan role of censor and moralist, as seen in Hints from Horace written 1811The Curse of Minerva written 1811and The Age of Bronze written 1822-1823.

Feeling revenged on the reviewers, Byron was anxious to realize a long-held dream of traveling abroad. Though in debt, he gathered together sufficient resources to allow him to begin a tour of the eastern Mediterranean. Once in Greece, Byron and Hobhouse pushed by boat and horseback into virtually unvisited Albania; in Jannina, Byron bought several magnificent native costumes in one of which Thomas Phillips painted him in 1814.

Anxious to set down the myriad experiences the trip afforded him, Byron began an autobiographical poem in Jannina on 31 October 1809, wherein he recorded the adventures and reflections of Childe Burun a combination of the archaic title for a youth of noble birth and an ancient form of his own surname ; he subsequently renamed the hero Harold.

Byron completed the first canto in Athens at the end of the year. Turning southward, he and Hobhouse journeyed through fateful Missolonghi and rode into Athens on Christmas night 1809. They lodged at the foot of the Acropolis with Mrs.

Tarsia Macri, widow of a Greek who had been British vice consul. Byron soon fell in love with her three daughters, all under the age of fifteen, but especially with Theresa, only twelve, his "Maid of Athens.

Excursions in January 1810 to Cape Sounion, overlooking the green islands of the Cyclades, and to Marathon, where the Athenians defeated the invading Persians in 490 B. In March 1810 Byron and Hobhouse extended their tour into Turkey. On 28 March, in Smyrna, he completed the second canto of Childe Harold, incorporating his adventures in Albania and his thoughts on Greece. During the two months he spent in Constantinople amid Oriental splendor, filth, and cruelty, his distaste for the Turks grew.

In July he parted with Hobhouse, who was bound for England, and traveled back to Athens, where he settled in the Capuchin monastery below the Acropolis. Here, he studied Italian and modern Greek, just as he would learn Armenian from monks in Venice six years later.

He also moved easily in the cosmopolitan society of Athens. Stirred to literary composition, he first produced explanatory notes for Childe Harold; then, in February and March 1811, he wrote two poems in heroic couplets. He arrived at Sheerness, Kent, on 14 July, two years and twelve days after his departure. More, exposure to all manner of persons, behavior, government, and thought had transformed him into a citizen of the world, with broadened political opinions and a clear-sighted view of prejudice and hypocrisy in the "tight little island" of England.

Significantly, he would select as the epigraph for Childe Harold a passage from Le Cosmopolite, ou, le Citoyen du Monde 1753by Louis Charles Fougeret de Monbron, that, in part, compares the universe to a book of which one has read but the first page if he has seen only his own country. Within three weeks of his return, Byron was plunged into a period of prolonged mourning.

His mother died on 2 August, before he set out for Newstead. Whatever her failings, she had loved her son, taken pride in his accomplishments, and managed Newstead economically in his absence.

Then, in October, he learned of the death from consumption that May of John Edleston, the former choirboy at Trinity College. During his political career he spoke but three times in the House of Lords, taking unpopular sides. In his maiden speech on 27 February he defended stocking weavers in his home area of Nottinghamshire who had broken the improved weaving machinery, or frames, that deprived them of work and reduced them to near starvation; he opposed as cruel and unjust a government-sponsored bill that made frame breaking a capital offense.

On 21 April he made a plea for Catholic emancipation, the most controversial issue of the day. On 1 June he stood to present the petition of Major John Cartwright for the right to petition for the reform of Parliament.

Dallas, his adviser in the publication of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers. Dallas enthusiastically showed the poem to John Murray II, the respected publisher of Scott and Southey, who agreed to publish Byron, beginning a rich association between publisher and poet. Five hundred quarto copies, priced at thirty shillings each, sold out in three days. An octavo edition of three thousand copies at twelve shillings was on the market within two days.

Shortly after Childe Harold appeared, Byron remarked, "I awoke one morning and found myself famous.

Lord Byron (George Gordon)

In less than six months sales had reached forty-five hundred copies. In the Edinburgh Review February 1812Francis Jeffrey commented that Byron had "improved marvellously since his last appearance at our tribunal.

In the Quarterly Review March 1812George Ellis concluded that the poem exhibited "some marks of carelessness, 1 after reviewing the romanticism resource page list three characteristics of romanticism also ident of caprice, but many also of sterling genius. Color and energy animate descriptions of the familiar Spain and Portugalthe exotic Albania and Greeceand the violent a Spanish bullfight and feuding Albanians.

The poem is the record of the contemporary quest for moral and intellectual certainty and positive self-assertion. The route for many was through sensation and emotional experience.

In Canto I Harold, "sore sick at heart" with his life of "revel and ungodly glee," leaves his native Albion on pilgrimage to find peace and spiritual rebirth. In Childe Harold Byron began to blend narration and digression to produce a type of descriptive-meditative poetry which he would use to greater advantage in Don Juan. Scenes Harold and the narrator describe often spur them to moral reflections. The work repeatedly stresses the rich heritage of poetry and liberty which contemporary Europe has received from classical Greece.

Harold was introduced, Byron wrote in the preface, "for the sake of giving some connexion to the piece. Though he, too, speculated on such a relationship, Walter Scott, reviewing the third canto of Childe Harold and The Prisoner of Chillon, and Other Poems in the Quarterly Review October 1816recognized that in Harold Byron had created a new and significant Romantic character type which reappeared in almost all his heroes.

Harold is the first "Byronic Hero. According to Thorslev, Harold in Cantos I and II evidences characteristics of such hero types as the Gloomy Egoist, meditating on ruins, death, and the vanity of life; the Man of Feeling, concerned with the suffering caused by war or oppression; and the Gothic Villain, unregenerate or remorseful.

He, in turn, is absorbed into the narrator, to produce a sensitive, meditative, melancholy observer-narrator of his pilgrimage. At Holland House, he met the spirited, impulsive Lady Caroline Lamb, who initially judged him "mad—bad—and dangerous to know.

Despite its outcome, his connection with Lady Caroline left him on friendly terms with her mother-in-law, the witty Elizabeth Milbanke Lamb, Lady Melbourne. Through her, in September, he proposed marriage to her niece, Anne Isabella Annabella Milbanke, as a possible means of escaping the insistent Caroline. A twenty-year-old bluestocking, Annabella was widely read in literature and philosophy and showed a talent for mathematics.

She declined the proposal in the belief that Byron would never be "the object of that strong affection" which would make her "happy in domestic life.