Byron, George (Gordon) Byron, 6th Baron

Byron, George (Gordon) Byron, 6th Baron
known as Lord Byron

born Jan. 22, 1788, London, Eng.
died April 19, 1824, Missolonghi, Greece

British Romantic poet and satirist.

Born with a clubfoot and extremely sensitive about it, he was 10 when he unexpectedly inherited his title and estates. Educated at Cambridge, he gained recognition with English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), a satire responding to a critical review of his first published volume, Hours of Idleness (1807). At 21 he embarked on a European grand tour. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812–18), a poetic travelogue expressing melancholy and disillusionment, brought him fame, while his complex personality, dashing good looks, and many scandalous love affairs, with women and with boys, captured the imagination of Europe. Settling near Geneva, he wrote the verse tale The Prisoner of Chillon (1816), a hymn to liberty and an indictment of tyranny, and Manfred (1817), a poetic drama whose hero reflected Byron's own guilt and frustration. His greatest poem, Don Juan (1819–24), is an unfinished epic picaresque satire in ottava rima. Among his numerous other works are verse tales and poetic dramas. He died of fever in Greece while aiding the struggle for independence, making him a Greek national hero.

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Universalium. 2010.

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