—– Georges Gordon Byron (1788 – 1824) —–
Few writers in any language at any time in the history of European arts and letters have so completely captured the imagination of a generation as did George Gordon, Lord Byron. A member of the second generation of English Romantic poets that also included Keats and Shelly, he was born in London in 1788 and died famously in the defense of the Greek national cause in 1824. During his lifetime Byron was a rather scandalous figure, beautiful, brutal, deeply intellectual, brilliant and eccentric (he could not stand the sight of a woman eating). He was generally regarded as a fallen angel, to be pitied and secretly admired. With his premature death Byron shared the apparently inevitable fate of a Romantic poet, but the fact that he literally sacrificed himself for those classical ideals that so infused his work (which in reality had little to do with the modern Greek state) gave his death a special resonance for European artists and thinkers, and he posthumously became a iconic figure of dark fascination, a compelling mixture of idealism and disillusionment, heroism and demonism, noble defiance and tragedy.