Byron's creative path is the story of the development of a powerful talent
Lord George Gordon Byron
The great English poet George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) is one of the brightest names in the history of world literature. A descendant of an old noble family, Lord Byron spoke out against the ruling classes of England, raising his voice in defense of the people. He used his seat in the House of Lords to throw in the faces of the English landowners and capitalists the accusation that they were oppressors and executioners who lived on the labor of the English working people.
Byron's creative path is the story of the development of a powerful talent, which, during the life of the poet, brought him world fame. At the same time, this is the story of the spiritual growth of the writer, who in his works more and more fully expressed the protest of the popular masses of Europe against the reaction, which tried to drown in blood and strangle the liberation movement of the peoples who had risen against the rotten feudal system.
The poet's childhood and early youth passed in the conditions usual for a young Englishman of noble birth. Byron lived first in the old family estate, poetically described by him in the poem "On Departure from Newstead Abbey" (1803), then studied at one of the English colleges. However, already in the first collection of poems - "Hours of Leisure" (1807), - released by the nineteen-year-old poet, notes of condemnation of secular life sounded, the features of Byron's satirical talent, his dreams of a significant life, free, free from aristocratic prejudices, appeared.
The bold, talented book of the young poet alarmed some conservative writers. The Edinburgh Review responded to Leisure Hours with a rude, critical review. The young poet took the fight. In 1809, his poem English Bards and Scottish Reviewers appeared, a satirical survey of modern English literature and criticism. Byron viciously ridiculed the poets and critics who, in his opinion, delayed the development of English literature. Objectively, Byron's satire gave a devastating characterization of those literary circles that served the English reaction. Arguing that there was a long stagnation and crisis in English literature, Byron called on English poets to create NEW works that would be devoted to the topics of our time, would reflect all the stormy and heroic Events, the Young poet became a participant in the social struggle,
In 1809 Byron went on his first journey. For almost two years he was away. Over the years, he saw the Pyrenean theater of war, witnessed how the Spanish people courageously resisted the French invasion, got acquainted with the life of Asia Minor, Greece and Albania, forced to endure the yoke of the Turkish conquerors. His impressions of the countries he saw, and of the events that prepared the approaching collapse of Napoleon, Byron outlined in the first two songs of the poem, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage", which appeared in 1812.
Dissatisfaction with English reality, which is dominated by pure and false, the dream of exploits that would contribute to the liberation of the peoples of Europe from the yoke of foreign invaders and from the oppression of the ruling classes - give the very first songs of the poem a revolutionary-romantic character.
At the same time, for Byron's revolutionary romantic poetry of the early 1810s. characterized by a satirical orientation, revelatory sharpness. These features distinguish the remarkable political poem The Curse of Minerva (1812), which is close in all its spirit to Childe Harold. In it, the poet accused English politicians of robbing the cultural treasures created by this people under the pretext of protecting the interests of the Greek people, destroying the shrines of Greek art.
Byron returned to England, wiser from the experience of his trip. He became convinced of the unscrupulousness and treachery of British politicians, he saw that the Tori oligarchy was striving to extract as many benefits as possible from the protracted war against Napoleon. Everywhere, wherever Byron was, he saw the military preparations of England, her fleet and garrisons, her agents fanning the flames of war.
Shortly after returning to England, Byron spoke in Parliament, with a detailed accusation of the English ruling classes, demanding work and bread for the Luddites. His speech in defense of the weavers - the so-called "Speech in the House of Lords on the Bill of Looms" (1812) - is one of the best examples of English journalism, a wonderful monument to Byron's oratorical talent. In direct connection with this speech is one of his best poems - the satirical "Ode to the authors of the bill against the destroyers of machine tools" (1812). In it, Byron wrote:
Isn't it strange that if hunger comes to visit us and the cry of the poor is heard, Bones break for breaking the machine And lives are valued cheaper than a stocking? And if it was so, then many will ask: First, should the madmen turn their necks, Which people who ask for help, Only rush to tighten the noose around their necks? (Translated by O. Chiumina)
By 1813-1814. includes a cycle of Byron's poems, known as "oriental poems" - "Gyaur" (1813), "Abydos Bride" (1813), "Corsair" (1814). The action of the poems takes place far from England, but in essence the acute conflicts underlying them reflect the conditions of English life. The most remarkable thing in these poems is a passionate protest against oppression, a passionate love for freedom, which was threatened by the forces of reaction that triumphed in Europe. These rebellious features are inherent in the heroes of the poems Giaur and Konrad. The world of Byron's oriental poems is colorful and tragic. Following the spiritual drama of their heroes - freedom-loving, energetic, active people, offended by an unjust social system - the reader cannot help but be carried away by wonderful descriptions of the sea, pictures of an unusual, vibrant nature, exotic life,
The aggravated contradictions of the poet's work also affected the oriental poems. In the time of the temporary defeat of the liberation movement in Europe, Byron came to the erroneous idea that the struggle for freedom is primarily the work of a strong personality, dictating his will to the crowd, leading the crowd behind him. Conrad in the poem "The Corsair" looks like such a lonely leader, inspiring meek obedience to the free band of pirates. However, the self-sufficient individualism inherent in the heroes of a number of Byron's poems could not captivate the poet for a long time. Already the dramatic poem "Manfred" (1817) gives reason to say that Byron is critical of his passion for a lonely strong personality, supposedly standing above all ordinary people. "Manfred" was written outside of England. In 1816, Byron, hunted by his political enemies and secular mob,
In Switzerland, he takes on the continuation of the poem about Childe Harold and works on the already mentioned dramatic poem "Manfred". There he also struck up a friendship with P. B. Shelley, another great English poet of the early 19th century. Shelley supported Byron in these difficult days for him, helped him overcome the gloomy mood that took possession of the poet in the last years of his stay in England.
In 1819 Byron moves to Italy. A new significant period of his activity begins, associated with the rise of the social movement in Europe.
The "Holy Alliance" could not stop the development of the liberation movement of the peoples of Europe. In the 20s. a new stage of the anti-feudal struggle begins in Spain. In 1810-1826. the liberation struggle of the peoples in the American colonies of royal Spain unfolded, ending in the creation of independent Latin American states. In 1821, an uprising of the Carbonari broke out in Italy, with the preparation of which Byron was most closely associated. In the same year, an uprising began in Greece, which then turned into a war against the Turkish yoke. A wave of peasant uprisings swept in the early 1920s. on fortress Russia.