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Thread: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

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    Default The anniversary of Lord Byron's death



    Lord Byron (seen above, in the white cloak) died on the 19th of April, 1824, exactly 197 years ago.
    His death took place during the siege of Messolonghi, in Aetolia, by turkish forces, in the greek war of independence.

    To his left, the two notable figures are (military clothes) Theodoros Kolokotronis and (civilian black suit) Alexandros Maurokordatos.

    While the sentiment of unity is nice there, by 1824 the unity already was lacking, leading to a couple of greek civil wars while the war of independence was still being fought. Maurokordatos also didn't have good relations with most of the military leaders, including Kolokotronis (who is, by all accounts, the most important one in this war).

    Btw, that was a time when such a thing as "german philhellenes" existed. Maurokordatos was head of half the army at the 1822 battle of Peta (in the same theatre of operations; Aetolia), where a regiment of foreigners also fought, under the command of Karl von Normann-Ehrenfels
    It is said that Ehrenfels referred to Maurokordatos as "prince". Greek military leaders usually reserved less flattering names for him, including "errand-boy of (turkish controlled) Constantinople".
    Λέων μεν ὄνυξι κρατεῖ, κέρασι δε βούς, ἄνθρωπος δε νῷι
    "While the lion prevails with its claws, and the ox through its horns, man does by his thinking"
    Anaxagoras of Klazomenae, 5th century BC










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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    And when convulsive throes denied my breath
    The faintest utterance to my fading thought,
    To thee—to thee—e’en in the gasp of death
    My spirit turned, oh! oftener than it ought.

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Does anyone still read his writings? I have seen him referred to often, but have not met anyone who read him.

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    have not met anyone who read him.
    Now you have.

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Bizarre bloke Byron. He was a massive boxing fan boy, sparred with champions, and used to paste newspaper images of his favourite boxers on his bedroom furniture: this as more like being into street fighting than present day clownish arranged WWF-flavoured boxing nonsense.

    https://wordsworth.org.uk/blog/2016/...ng-with-byron/

    As for poetry, he was extremely fashionable, rather than timeless. "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold/His cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold/and the sheen on his spears was like stars on the sea/Where the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galillee" is overblown tripe, mock epic and 100% romantic. "She walks in beauty like the night" gets a run at a lot of weddings but so does Khalil Gibrain so lets not argue from familiarity, most of Byron's poetry is lengthy and emotive, and breaks rules more than it breaks new ground.

    I shouldn't make it sound like Byron is not technically accomplished, he can definitely smith a line. He knocked Sir Walter Scott off his perch as Top Poet in Britain (and some would say Europe) and the old scot from Abbotsford had to turn his hand to writing novels instead (where he made an even greater fortune than poesy ever made either of them).

    The contrast between Scott and Byron is immense. The sedate Scot Scott, not a noble and barely a gentleman, produced enormous quantities of well crafted (but once again not timeless or inspired) poetry (really none of it remembered today so arguably not as "great' as Byron as it just doesn't survive its era), whose technically pleasing soundness and somewhat controlled emotional range made him an international star in the intellectual uncertainty of the Napoleonic wars.

    When Byron arrived like a meteor and took the mantle of Best Poet Scott turned his hand to historical novels (a style that inspired Dumas and with benign rather than revolutionary observations of human nature and the lessons of history, and a nice eye for curious detail and even some mild humour. He wrote under a pen name at first and his affairs (to the extent they were known) did not trouble the public conscience. He practically invented the genre of historical fiction, by mixing his story telling with interesting (and often quite tolerant and broad minded) attempts to represent the past as different and familiar, although he did not stay too far from political orthodoxy. I'd say Dumas perfects the form but he and Hugo and the rest built on Scott's style: the Waverley novels are still (just) readable and quite interesting if you want to understand 19th century historiography.

    Scott's novels made him more famous (he was able to reveal his true identity without shame, people had imagined his poetry was so refined he "must be a duke" or something) and crossed genres; there are half a dozen operas based on his novels and his works are still known in French, German and Italian (I heard a Belgian lass mispronounce his name horribly, she was surprised "Ee-van-Oh-Ay" (=Ivanhoe) was an English story, she had thought it was Belgian).

    Byron drank and whored and fought his way to a bad reputation early and burned his candle twice as bright and half as long. A true Romantic, he saw rules more as scratching posts than limits. His taste for substance abuse, martial arts and whacky ideas might remind you of Joe Rogan but equally his rule breaking and undoubted popular appeal might make him a Kanye/Musk hybrid, plus he took part in ethnic insurgencies for fun.

    Its a tribute to the increasingly tolerant nature of British society that two such writers could co-exist, and even quite like each other personally (apparently they met once or twice and got along quite well despite the differences in age, style, background, politics and lifestyle...and everything). Byron also kept company with other Romantic poets and their ladyfriends, including the genius Shelley and her husband. To me Percy Shelley is a better poet (you could argue for Keats too, I can't because I haven't read enough) and in that circle Mary Shelley is the true genius whatever her (minor) technical failings: her imagination is as great as Poe or Lovecraft.

    Byron's lifestyle and political adventures added to his poetic superiority mean he remains a byword today. Scott was if anything more important as a writer, having risen two the top in two fields of writing and standing as parent of the sub-genre of historical novels.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Byron, you see, was cool. And though we like to say after school such things don't matter, we are lying.

    Percy > Keats

    But if we are talking English Romantics the only Da Vinci of the crew is Blake.
    Dude was special.

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Quote Originally Posted by enoch View Post
    Byron, you see, was cool. And though we like to say after school such things don't matter, we are lying.

    Percy > Keats

    But if we are talking English Romantics the only Da Vinci of the crew is Blake.
    Dude was special.
    I'm not saying you're wrong...


    I think you're mostly right. I think Blake was a force of nature but so are my farts. His art is trash, his poems meander between raving and trash, he's all heart and no irony. Inspired? Well, yes OK, maybe he saw God's face.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    I'm not saying you're wrong...


    I think you're mostly right. I think Blake was a force of nature but so are my farts. His art is trash, his poems meander between raving and trash, he's all heart and no irony. Inspired? Well, yes OK, maybe he saw God's face.
    Master engraver. Toolmaker. Got how key the Bible is in the Dominion of our minds. Two famous stories of leading riots in his youth on a whim. Deeply anti authority in theology and politics. Anti capitalist. But not a dirty commie. Understood why revolutions eat the rich. Not even close to a prude even by today’s most free loving adherents.

    Dude and me would have vibed.

    Plus this sentence I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's guided my life.

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    @Cyclops: I fear you overestimate the influence of english romanticism on german romanticism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Romanticism

    For example E.T.A. Hoffmann:

    Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (commonly abbreviated as E. T. A. Hoffmann; born Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann; 24 January 1776 – 25 June 1822) was a German Romantic author of fantasy and Gothic horror, a jurist, composer, music critic and artist.[1][2][3] His stories form the basis of Jacques Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann, in which Hoffmann appears (heavily fictionalized) as the hero. He is also the author of the novella The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, on which Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is based. The ballet Coppélia is based on two other stories that Hoffmann wrote, while Schumann's Kreisleriana is based on Hoffmann's character Johannes Kreisler. See also Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Op. 12.

    Hoffmann's stories highly influenced 19th-century literature, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._T._A._Hoffmann
    Last edited by Morticia Iunia Bruti; May 14, 2021 at 01:15 AM.
    And when your sleep is haunted in the night
    Girl, don't you dare to seek for candle light
    'Cause in the dark your demons come as carnal dynamite
    Oh, demons of the night come and take her hand
    Oh, demons are a girl's best friend

    POWERWOLF ft. Alissa White-Gluz - Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend


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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Quote Originally Posted by enoch View Post
    Master engraver.
    Setting a low bar for the term "master"


    Be serious, he's not really a Da Vinci.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia Iunia Bruti View Post
    @Cyclops: I fear you overestimate the influence of english romanticism on german romanticism.
    IIRC Scott was heavily influenced by German Romanticism (not just the colossal figure of Goethe but also Herder, Klopstock etc) which obviously predates English Romanticism. I would say in turn Scott's pan-European popularity eclipsed all but Goethe's in terms of cross cultural influence: a quick google reveals even Beethoven and Schubert composed pieces inspired by Scott's work. He was an extremely important-seeming figure, plainly less sexy than Byron as pointed out above but influential nonetheless. These days Goethe I think is well remembered, Byron less so except as a figure of speech, and Scott only among a few opera fans and antiquarians.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    I guess in that time there was much intercultural exchange in Europe because of the intensifying trade and traffic.

    I mean the Rhine valley was the Shangri-La of british Romanticism. The Rhinelanders even removed the still existing colured plaster of some Rhine Castles to make them more "romantic".

    Early Disney world.^^
    And when your sleep is haunted in the night
    Girl, don't you dare to seek for candle light
    'Cause in the dark your demons come as carnal dynamite
    Oh, demons of the night come and take her hand
    Oh, demons are a girl's best friend

    POWERWOLF ft. Alissa White-Gluz - Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend


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    Default Re: The anniversary of Lord Byron's death

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Setting a low bar for the term "master"


    Be serious, he's not really a Da Vinci.


    IIRC Scott was heavily influenced by German Romanticism (not just the colossal figure of Goethe but also Herder, Klopstock etc) which obviously predates English Romanticism. I would say in turn Scott's pan-European popularity eclipsed all but Goethe's in terms of cross cultural influence: a quick google reveals even Beethoven and Schubert composed pieces inspired by Scott's work. He was an extremely important-seeming figure, plainly less sexy than Byron as pointed out above but influential nonetheless. These days Goethe I think is well remembered, Byron less so except as a figure of speech, and Scott only among a few opera fans and antiquarians.

    Hard to find anyone else like Da Vinci anywhere in world history. In the west the best I got is Franklin, Hooke and Newton/Leibniz though I fear that more reveals my anglo centric upbringing than anything else.

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