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George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)

Byron was the only romantic poet to become popolar in Europe because of his work and life.
His father, John (called by his friends “mad Jack”), wasted all the money received from his first and his second wife, George’s mother.
The second marriage was very unhappy, and so he left his family and went to France. There he died.
George Byron’s mother was instead a strange woman, with a moody character: a minute she was joyful, and a minute later she was full of anger.
Probably for this reason, George grew up with a revolutionary spirit, convinced that life was always marked by a sort of predestination to sin.
He was born lame and this characteristic always gave him a sense of inferiority, even if he was good-looking, a perfect rider and swimmer.

His uncle died in 1798, leaving him as heritance a big sum of money that permitted George to go to the university and, even if he was a lazy student, to get his grade.
During this period he wrote his first work: Hours of idleness.
When he came of age, he could sit in the House of Lords.
Then he went to visit Spain, Greece, Turkey[/b and many other countries.
After that, he entered the Whig Society of London and became a popular character, also because he liked showing himself as a romantic lover that was always tormented by sadness.
In 1816 he married a woman, but, because of Byron’s violent and eccentric conduct, they obtained separation. At the time this was a scandal: everybody started talking about him and avoiding him.
So, he left England and, from that moment on, he spent his life abroad.
He moved to Switzerland, near the Shelleys. There he had a love affair with Mary Shelley’s half sister, and they had a daughter.
Then he went to Italy and had the most important relationship of his life with Countess Guiccioli.
In Ravenna he supported the Carbonari against the Austrians.
Then he went to Pisa and Genoa.
In Greece he embraced the Greeks’ cause, that demanded liberty from Turkish domination.
Byron died at Missolonghi, at the age of 36, because of a high fever


Byron wrote Romantic and satirical poems, as if his character had two faces. But the differences and the contradiction of his behavior can be perfectly explained by his life and his attitude.
He always thought to be meant to do important things during his life, but, on the other hand, he understood that life was also a melting-pot of tragedy and humor.
Byron was Romantic in many things:
1) his life: he was handsome, and a poet avoided by people. He had numerous love affairs that changed his life. Then he decided to retire in exile, lonely, writing, sad and pale, his poems;
2) In his rebellion against every kind of authority, in his titanism and nationalism;
3) In his individualism and melancholy;
4) In his way of seeing nature as a reflection of himself, and in his attraction to exoticism.

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