Today is the birthday of our original scholar rogue, George Gordon Byron, sixth earl of Newstead Abbey.
I have been thinking a lot about Byron in the last week, partly because it used to be a ritual of my misspent youth to celebrate his birthday each year by engaging in as much debauchery as my financial and physical health could stand, partly because I wasted four hours of my life last week watching the mini series Byron on Ovation Television even after I’d realized that the narrative construct focused almost entirely on Byron’s scandalous love life. (There were passing references to Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan, and I think The Corsair was mentioned, too, in relation to Edward Trelawny who makes a cameo near the end of the program, but perhaps I mis-remember).
This Byron – Byron the scandalous celebrity – is the Byron the media believes the public wants. Continue reading