Lord Byron

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Lord Byron lived fast, died young and left a beautiful corpse.

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, was a Romanticism 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 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.

Has featured in the following works:

  • Arcadia, a play by Tom Stoppard
  • "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.

Tropes from the works of Lord Byron:

  • Anti-Hero: Byron liked these so much that a certain type are often called "Byronic heroes."
  • Byronic Hero: Obviously.