George Gordon Byron, if known for anything in the entire span of late history, is renowned for his status, by today’s common standard, as the world’s first followed mega-star. Described by Lady Caroline Lamb, Lord Byron is none other than “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” Byron’s reputation for being a dashing, charismatic, elegant, scandalous, blunt, womanizing, rebellious, talented yet moody young man is unparalleled. His lifetime stands at the apex of a time when some of the greatest literature was ever written, an epoch of literary output that includes a chance summer rendezvous upon the shores of Lake Geneva that provided the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
While Byron’s talent incited a passionate flare in young women, Byron’s attitude toward the establishment incited a range of socialite and political men to dislike him. For Byron, this fact was irrelevant to the impetus that drove him, but not immune to consequences. Exiled from England, Byron came to know a rich life abroad amid the countries of Europe, an experience that only enhanced his vivaciousness and made him all the more appealing to the women he seduced. He was a man of moderate principle with a knack for scandal, and his witty conversation combined with his uncontrollable mood swings and powerful good looks made him the subject (intentionally or not) of his own work, as well as the work of other famous authors. The characters in his poetry resemble himself, an aspect of his career that drew so much attention, yet his life is fictitiously portrayed in other works that are anything but humble. In John Polidori’s Vampyre, vampiric folk tales are introduced into British lore by depicting a vampire who frequents English social circles, a work of fiction that today, still echoes the elegance and charisma that accompanies the vampire model. Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray bears an undeniable resemblance to Byron, a man who seemingly never turns old or ugly, of whose notoriety extends from a long line of wealth.
Byron’s life incurred the existence of the Byronic hero, a self-destructive man hiding an undesirable past, whose cockiness and iconoclastic tastes are abhorred by contemporaries; a man abounding with promiscuity, yet perputually unsuccessful with love; a man paradoxically exiled yet desired, of whom, in the same vein of paradox, withholds such talent that his ego makes him unutterably bored with life.
Byron did not pass without leaving the world with a sense of his ability to understand his own faults, where often times he openly admitted his inability to control his sprightly and sardonic pronouncements no matter the mood, and he is known for having engaged the most bizarre twist of endeavors by leaping from a person meticulously scribing great poetic works, to organizing rebellions against the most ill-intended powers that threaten, and it is for this reason that Lord Byron is renowned as a hero in present day Greece.
The heroic acts did not prevent Byron’s early death, nor did it relinquish the aftertaste he left in England after his blatant exile, at least not until about 150years later when a memorial was finally erected to him by sheer force of pervading fame, at Westminster Abbey.