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Lord George Gordon Byron


Lord Byron was born in London in 1788. His father left his family in a poor situation because he used to drink, smoke, play and have sex with other women. Byron’s mother was a libertine. She was mental and Byron grown up with a Calvinist governess. The boy was born with a clubfoot, he was a cripple and so he grown up with the idea that he wasdamned. His lameness made him feel inferior to other people and he was extremely sensitive about his deformity. In 1801 he went to school at Harrow school then he passed to Cambridge where he started his devotion for poetry.

Lord Byron re-valued Augustan views, the classical taste. He became lord when he took a seat in the House of Lords in the English capital. After a brief he left for the“Grand tour.” The grand tour was a journey that made young men from good families to go abroad and visit Europe. Lord Byron visited Spain, Portugal, Malta and the Balkan peninsula (Greece, Albania,..). during the Grand tour the poet wrote the first two cantos of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” that had an enormous success.

“I awoke one morning and found myself famous”

In 1813 he spenta lot of time with his half-sister Augusta, with which he probably had a relation. In 1814 Augusta had a daughter from an unknown person. Rumors said that it was Byron’s child, so to avoid the scandal the poet left his sister and married a well-to-do woman. Lady Byron, as soon as she heard about those rumors, left his husband for England from which she did not return.

Byron went toSwitzerland (Alps, the place of the sublime) where he met Shelley and Mary Godwin. In this period the poet wrote the third and the fourth cantos of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.”

Lord Byron had a lot of love affairs after the 1818 and wrote the poem “Don Juan.” He initiated the Carbonary society and as a Champion of freedom he went with other intellectuals to Greece to set it free from theTurks’ domination (Greek revolution). He got ill on the battlefield and at Missolonghi, on April 19 1824, Lord George Gordon Byron died.

“Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

Lord Byron’s poem’s main character is Childe Harold as the title advices. Childe was a title given to those men that were becoming knights during the middle ages.

The poem is made up by fourcantos written and published in different periods.

1st and 2nd Cantos:

Written in 1801 and published in 1812. The first canto is set in Spain and Portugal; the second one is set in Spain, Portugal and Greece. All of these places are those that he visited during the “Grand tour.”

3rd Canto:

Written in 1815 and published the same year. The scene of the canto is set in Belgium.4th Canto:

Written in 1816 and published in 1818. This canto is set in Italy.

The unifying elements of the 4 cantos are the hero, the typical Byronic hero, and the metrical form of the poem, the Spenserian stanza. This kind of stanza invented by Spencer, an Elizabethan poet. The Spenserian stanza is very similar to Ariosto’s Ottava Rima, but it is composed by nine iambic pentameters,but the ninth that is an alexandrine; because it is an heroic poem and the Spenserian stanza was the most suitable. Another common aspect is the narrative technique: a third person narrator that follows Childe Harold; however, in the last two cantos the identity of the narrator and the hero’s one overlap when there is something important and subjective to say.

Language: very different fromWilliam Wordsworth one, it is a complex language; the word choice follow the Augustan trend, he uses archaic and highly poetical words. He never arrives to use the poetic diction though. However, as well as W.W., the words he uses appeals our senses that activates imagination.

Byronic Hero: his most important qualities are: he is noble by birth, a champion of freedom and a lover of nature and...
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