Byron is a poet, a representative of romanticism - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Byron is a poet, a representative of romanticism
Lord George Gordon Byron

Born into a noble family, for ten years he inherited the family title and a seat in the House of Lords of the British Parliament. After completing his education at the University of Cambridge, Byron went on a two-year trip to Italy and Greece. On February 27, 1812, having returned to London, he made his first speech in the House of Lords, in which he accused the government of arbitrariness and defended the right of the workers reduced to extreme poverty to revolt against the authorities.

His position aroused hatred towards him from the ruling circles of the country. According to the recollections of all who knew him, Byron was an impeccably noble man. but he was distinguished by a difficult, quarrelsome character. It is not surprising, therefore, that during Byron's divorce proceedings, the conservative press covered him so prejudicedly that the public opinion of the country turned against him. The court deprived Byron of paternity rights. The poet left his homeland, lived in Switzerland (1816), then in Italy (1817-1823), where he took an active part in the Carbonari movement, who fought for the liberation of the country from the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs.

Hardly survived the defeat of the Carbonari, Byron in 1823 equipped a warship at his own expense and sailed on it to Greece, where there was a national liberation war against the Turkish yoke. There, in the town of Messolonghi, on April 19, 1824, Byron died of a fever. The poet's heart is buried in Greece, the body rests in England, in the Byron family estate. Byron was an excellent master of all forms and genres of poetry. Magnificent samples of intimate, philosophical and political lyrics belong to his pen; the famous poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" (1812-1818); romantic so-called "Oriental poems" - "Gyaur" (1813), "Corsair" (1814), "Parisina" (1816), etc.; dramatic poems, or mysteries, as the author himself called them - "Manfred" (1817), "Cain" (1821); humorous and satirical poems - "Beppo" (1818). "Vision of the Court" (1822), etc.; historical tragedies; unfinished satirical and moral epic in verse "Don Juan" (1818-1823); critical articles and autobiographical prose.

Byron's poetry, even during the life of the author, became the property of the era, attracted attention and caused fierce disputes among friends and in the camp of opponents. This is primarily due to the fact that his work in a concentrated form expressed the tragedy of his time and the human character generated by this tragedy.

The tragedy of Childe Harold, as well as other heroes of romantic poems and mysteries, as well as Byron himself and his revolutionary-minded contemporaries, is a tragedy of timelessness. The hopes pinned on the Great French Revolution of the 18th century failed. Awakened by the era, the young energy could not find a worthy application in this situation and returned to its own circle, turning into spontaneous rebellion.

Byron conveyed the mood of restlessness and disappointment that gripped young contemporaries with force and penetration unknown to him, but he equally expressively revealed the insatiable thirst for justice that tormented the soul of his heroes, the desire for rebellion without a specific goal. This whole complex of conflicting impulses that determined the spiritual state and worldview of a part of the young generation of Europeans, Byron captured and generalized by means of romanticism with his hero without a homeland, with his passions, with his themes of flight, wandering, exile, love of freedom and a proud challenge to rock. the definitions of "Byronic personality", "Byronian sorrow", "Byronism" are common nouns.

The image of Byron and the images of his poetic world entered as a metaphor into the classics of world poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries. The fascination with "Byronism" - and the facts of the poet's bright and short life contribute a lot to it - sometimes makes it difficult to correctly assess Byron the artist and his creative evolution, since an equal sign is involuntarily put between the author and his heroes. Byron, endowing his characters with his own emotions, does not merge with them at all and even opposes them. In the Oriental Poems, for example, he condemns the exorbitant ambition and selfish individualism of the heroes:

“With a great mind, with the actions of a fool ...” - it is said about Conrad (“The Corsair”). It is impossible not to see that the motives that govern the actions of the heroes are modified throughout the poet's creative path.

The passive challenge that Childe Harold poses to the world in the first songs of Childe Harold's voluntary exile, in the Oriental Poems, turns into a kind of armed rebellion against an unjust society and its laws, and in the mysteries, rebellious motives turn into godless motives. Yes, and Byron's creative method does not remained unchanged.

From the end of the 1810s, and especially in the 1820s. Byron begins to gravitate towards other, far from consistently romantic principles of recreating life: he increasingly turns to political satire, the grotesque; Don Juan reveals significant shifts towards realism. However, Byron "Don Juan", like Byron "Childe Harold", remained the same rebel-goal fighter, for whom there was nothing more precious than the holy cause of freedom. He paid for each line he wrote with his lofty and enviable fate - the fate of a man who discovered for himself "the final conclusion of earthly wisdom", to which Goethe's Faust comes:

Only he is worthy of life and freedom,

Who goes to battle for them every day.