George Gordon Byron – The Ruler of the Thought of His Age
George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824) came from an old, but impoverished aristocratic family – this was one of the reasons for his dissatisfaction and rebellion, for he could not bear the rich, corrupt and hypocritical members of the high society. Another reason for his unrest and pessimism, rebellious and scandalous nature is the fact that nature has highlighted it with exceptional beauty, but left it with a physical defect – from birth he was chrome. He was a open, sincere, free and rebellious spirit that faces all the regimes of the hypocritical society (therefore, this mood and lifestyle are called byronism).
He was a member of the House of Lords, but he looked there an open intolerance for his freedom and revolutionary spirit. The first speech at the House of Lords Byron dedicated to the defense of rebel workers in England, which looked like a shock to house members. The first book of poetry The Hours of Sleep (1807) caused unfavorable criticism, but the poet reacted seriously. His conflict with society was so intense that he was forced to leave the country and start a two-year trip to Portugal, Spain, Greece, Albania and Turkey. These paths provided the poet with inspiration and material for a series of works that would bring him poetic fame, especially James James Harold.
After two years he returned to England famous and recognized as a poet, but his way of life, action and reflection thus intensified the conflict with society, since he left England again in 1816. He lives and works in Switzerland and Italy. In Italy, where he spent seven years, he challenged his high society and norms, but he also provoked the authorities for his close ties with the Italian revolutionaries (the carbon movement) who fought for the liberation of Italy from Austrian rule. When a rebellion broke out against Turkish authorities in Greece, Byron, an eternal rebel and fighter on the side of the oppressed, is going to Greece, helping the Greek people’s struggle with money gained from literary work. Soon he became ill and died in 1824 from malaria.
Byron’s personality is complex and contradictory. He himself acknowledged that he was aware that biographers had great problems when they wanted to define his personality: “So if I find out, I would say that I do not have the character at all … what I think of myself is that I am so unstable because I was on the line and for a long time – I am such a weird melange of good and evil, it would be difficult to describe me.”
Byron is the most prominent European poet of Romanticism, an example and the role of a rebellious poet delighted with libertarian ideas, “the ruler of the thought of his age” (P. S. Cohan). He created the pattern of the Byronian poem, but also the Byronian hero – a lonely, restless, rebellious, mysterious. He has made a strong influence on all European romanticism not only by his actions, but also by living and acting, rebellion and defiance, dissatisfaction and protest, revolutionary spirit, moods, pessimism.
George Gordon Byron’s poetic work is rich and varied. The most important works include: Pilgrimage of Tea Harold (1812-1818), Don Juan (1819-1824), Pirate(1814), Lara (1814), Manfred (1816).