Lord Byron lived fast, died young and left a beautiful corpse.
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
(1788-1824), was a Romantic
poet, womaniser, and revolutionary. He gave his name to the Byronic Hero
trope, by writing about Byronic heroes and being one in real life
His childhood was fertile ground for what he became. His father, Army Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron, of a junior line of moderately old gentry familynote
married his mother, Catherine Gordon (heiress to the Scottish estate of Gight, in Aberdeenshire), in 1785. By the time George was born in 1788, "Mad Jack" had squandered most of Catherine's money, and she took her son to Aberdeen to eke out an existence on the remaining crumbs and a small trust fund; "Mad Jack" would die of tuberculosis in 1791. When Byron's great-uncle, the 5th Baron Byron, died childless, George, then 10 years old, inherited the title and the family seat at Newstead Abbey—which was a wreck that his mother preferred to rent out to junior gentry. Not that she spent the rent money well—she alternately spoiled George and spoiled herself, could be very stubborn, and was generally lacking in judgment.
His poems include the semi-autobiographical Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
and the long Narrative Poem Alternate Character Interpretation Don Juan
His women included:
- Lady Caroline Lamb, wife of the future Prime Minister Viscount Melbourne. She described him as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know"...before their affair even started.
- Augusta Leigh, his half-sister. Augusta (who was married) had a third daughter, Medora Leigh, who may (or may not) be Byron's child.
- Lady Caroline's cousin, Anne Isabella Milbanke, whom Byron married. The marriage was not happy, but produced one daughter, Ada Lovelace, one of the earliest computer programmers, after whom the programming language Ada was named.
- Claire Clairmont, the step-sister of Mary Shelley (the author of Frankenstein). They had a daughter, Allegra, who died at the age of 5.
This is an incomplete list. In addition, Byron was bisexual
, and had homosexual lovers as a young man. He is a good real life example of an Upper-Class Wit
Byron took part in the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830). He died, after being repeatedly bled with dirty surgical instruments, of a fever contracted while in Messolonghi in Greece, in 1824 at the age of 36.
He is often said to have had a club foot, this particular rumour about him is untrue. He had a limp from birth, but no club foot. He was still an avid athlete, boxing and swimming two of his better known sports.
Works by Lord Byron on the wiki:
Has featured in the following works:
- Lord Ruthven, the villain protagonist of The Vampyre by Lord Byron's doctor John Polidori is said to be modelled on Lord Byron.
- "Missolonghi 1824", a short story by John Crowley anthologized in Poe's Children
- The Anubis Gates, a novel by Tim Powers
- The Stress of Her Regard, a novel by Tim Powers
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, a novel by Susanna Clarke
- "The Modern Prometheus", an episode of Highlander: The Series
- The Difference Engine, a Steampunk novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. In this one, he manages to survive the Greek War of Independence and becomes Prime Minister over a society that depends on the mechanical computers invented by Charles Babbage and the aforementioned Ada Lovelace.
- The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, though only shows up in the first frame of Ada Lovelace's origin story. Still fitting, though, as he is Ada Lovelace's father.
- A computerized Byron features in Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 163 Years After His Lordship's Death, a novel by Amanda Prantera
- The Missolonghi Manuscript, a novel by Frederic Prokosch
- Benjamin Markovits has published two novels of a trilogy about Lord Byron: Imposture and A Quiet Adjustment
- Lord Byron's Doctor, a novel by Paul West
- Lady Caroline Lamb, mentioned above, published Glenarvon, a roman-a-clef about her affair with Byron
- An Alternate History analogue, John Byron III, appears in a flash-forward segment of Look to the West set in 1830.
- The opening to Bride of Frankenstein, in which he and Percy Shelley are entertained by Mary Shelley's telling of the narrative of the movie
- The Twelfth Enchantment has Lord Byron involved in a magical conspiracy.
- He once appeared as a spirit to give advice to Billy in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.
Tropes from the works of Lord Byron:
- Anti-Hero: Byron liked these so much that a certain type are often called "Byronic heroes."
- Blue Blood: To be a Byronic Hero, it helps to have the leisure to spend your time learning, travelling, brooding, and womanising (and man-ising), and so most of Byron's heroes are aristocrats like himself.
- Byronic Hero: Obviously.