Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lord Byron

Byron has been someone who I have always looked towards with a certain and prolonged admiration. His life, indeed his adventurous and non compromising embrace of Life (with a capital L), has been the touchstone for great writers ever since. He was perhaps the first poet to come to real celebrity as we now know it. His various controversies, his adulterous affairs, his love for cousins, his keeping of wild animals (bears, monkeys etc) have entered his name into the annuls of history as an eccentric who knew how to court the public's attention. His death in Greece while fighting for that countries independence sums up the Romantic heart which Byron sought from his time. His epic poem Don Juan (which he had difficulty publishing because of its bawdiness) is considered one of the great epic poems after Milton's Paradise Lost. Without Byron, the Romantic movement would not have had a focal point, and may indeed have been something else altogether. Byron is the typical Romantic hero. Mad, bad and dangerous to know. The phrase started with Byron, and perhaps really ended with him.

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