資料彙整   /   作家  /  George Gordon Noel  Byron  喬治•高登•拜倫
George Gordon Noel  Byron
喬治•高登•拜倫
圖片來源:
主要文類:Poem
資料提供者:Kate Liu/劉紀雯;Ray Schulte/蕭笛雷
關鍵字詞:Introduction to Literature 1998/1999 English Literature 19th Century Romantic Period Romantic Poetry

•高登•拜倫

1788-1824

 早年生活

     A. 家庭背景

     B. 領主的地位

 成年時期

     A. 展現文采

     B. 羅曼情史

 遠離家園

   沉重打擊與客死他鄉

 
 早年生活
 

A.     家庭背景

拜倫的父親約翰•拜倫上尉(Captain John Byron),人稱「瘋狂水手」,他與先後任妻子的婚姻不僅為他帶來財富,並為他產下一子一女。其子即為喬治•喬登•拜倫(George Gordon Noel Byron)由其母凱塞琳(Catherine Byron)教育成人,而其女為奧古斯妲(Augusta)交付其母系祖母侯德尼斯夫人(Lady Holderness)教養。凱塞琳自拜倫幼年時,便經常用故事為題材,為拜倫講述其父親及其家庭的經歷傳奇。拜倫從小深受充滿想像力的故事以及聖經典故之影響,對文學產生興趣。

B.     領主的地位

拜倫十歲那年繼承大舅的領主地位,雖然這麼一個貴族的地位並未帶給拜倫太多的財富,其母總是引以為傲的帶領拜倫走向貴族生活習氣之中。同時,拜倫不僅結識其他貴族,並首次見到他同父異母的姊姊奧古斯妲。也許因為貴族揮霍的習性,拜倫於劍橋的三合一學院就讀期間,縱逸享樂,揮霍無度的結果讓他在短短的數年間幾乎將家產花費殆盡。此後,拜倫的法定代理人對其予取予求的態度相應不理,而拜倫則過著躲避債主的日子。這樣緊張的生活一直要到拜倫成年後,變賣部份遺產才讓他稍微鬆口氣。

TOP

 成年時期
 

A.     展現文采

拜倫的情史可謂其創作之泉源。在早年出版的詩集中,賦閒之時Hours of Idleness)引起詩評們的注意。雖然拜倫對於詩評們毫不留情的批判顯得毫不為意,一般認為,拜倫在之後的英國詩人English Bards)與蘇格蘭評論Scotch Reviewers)發表的諷刺文不僅展現其雄辯的才華,並也是對之前苛刻的詩評們的一大反擊。拜倫的文采於是開始受到各界的矚目,藉由此後多年的經歷反映出他獨特的文風,同時在創作的過程中,海羅貴公子Childe Harold)等文已漸漸的突顯出「拜倫式英雄」的特色,他的舉世巨作唐璜Don Juan)正是創作的經典之作。

B.     羅曼情史

拜倫的情人往往為他帶來創作的靈感,姑且不論傳言中拜倫雙性戀的傾向,拜倫的情詩以及其創造的拜倫式英雄皆可稱為浪漫派詩作中的經典。拜倫最著名的幾段戀曲中,為其與其姊奧古斯妲可能亂倫的關係最長久,影響也最深,而這樣不倫的關係為拜倫帶來的創作靈感在他的作品中歷歷可見。

TOP

 遠離家園
 

沈重打擊與客死他鄉

拜倫34歲時,他四歲的非婚生女兒兒蕾嘉(Allegra)病逝於拜倫託付的修道院中,儘管拜倫終其一生並未承認兒蕾嘉為其親生女兒,也並不承認其他非婚生子女,一般推測,兒蕾嘉之死可能造成拜倫莫大的哀痛,並因此致使他的健康受到影響。此後,多病的拜倫依然抱病參與希臘對土耳其帝國的獨立戰爭,他最後的驚世之作出現在1824年,在我卅六歲的這一天On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year這首詩表明他停止寫作的決心。同年四月十九日,拜倫病逝於希臘,享年36歲。

TOP

 
   

George Gordon Noel Byron

1788-1824

 Early Life

     A. Family Background

     B. Becoming a Heir

     C. Education

 Adulthood

     A. Writing Performance

     B. Prominent Romantic Relationship and Liaison

 Last Years

     A. Fatal Buffet

     B. Died Abroad

 
 Early Life
 

A.     Family Background

Born on January 22, 1788, George Gordon Noel Byron was naturally lame.  The fact that he was born with a defective foot might trouble him throughout his life, yet he had shown his interest in literature since his childhood.  As a child of Captain John Byron who was notorious with a nickname “Mad Jack” and the Scots Heiress, Catherine Gordon, Byron grew up with his mother’s tales that at times romanticized the father’s fault and at times harshly criticized the Byrons.  Catherine Gordon brought up Byron with imaginative tales while the nurse affected Byron with Presbyterian biblical belief. 

B.     Becoming a Heir

Byron inherited the title from his great-uncle in 1798, and since then he acceded to the family estate of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.  Though Mrs. Gordon was fond of introducing her son as Lord Byron, the title did not bring Byron much substantial inheritance.

C.     Education

After being entitled, Byron received education at Harrow from 1801 to 1805.  In 1804, Byron attended Trinity College, Cambridge.  While in school, Byron was noted for his eloquence in oratory and verses.  There were rumors that Byron was a possible bisexual figure who might have affairs initially with his mates.  Since rather a young age, Byron was eminent for his pursuit of extravagant life.  Nevertheless, his excessive luxurious life brought him not merely numerous creditors, but the rage and indifference from his appointed guardian.  At any rate, Byron received a Master degree from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1805 and was prepared to take off in his literary career.

TOP

 Adulthood
 

A.     Writing Performance

In 1803, Byron wrote quite a few poems out of the love affair with his remote cousin, Mary Chaworth, who was engaged.  From 1804, he started to correspond with his half sister, Augusta, who was the daughter of Captain John Byron and his first wife, and was raised by her maternal grandmother.  His first and second publications of poetry, Fugitive Pieces and Poems on Various Occasions were published at his own expense anonymously.  Neither collections of poetry had brought him the reputation and controversy like Hours of Idleness.  Though being criticized, Byron appeared to be unaffected.  But later he reappeared with satiric productions of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers and thence, Byron was praised and evaluated highly.  The first work after his renowned satires were two cantos of Childe Harold, published by Robert Dallas in 1811.  The third canto was not finished until five years later.  It was brought to publication with The Prisoner of Chillon and other poems that Byron composed with the encouragement from Shelley.  Probably at the same time, Byron continued to work on Manfred and sent it to John Murray.  The theme of incest in Manfred aroused rumors and gossips once again, and made Augusta Leigh, Byron's sister, panic.  In 1817, Byron's financial situation being eased, he took his illegitimate daughter, Allegra to Palazzo Mocenigo, his residence.  It was during this time Byron began to compose his masterpiece, Don Juan.  Byron shocked his friends with his creation of On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year in 1824, implying his reluctance in writing.

B.     Prominent Romantic Relationship and Liaison

1.   Mary Duff – who Byron claimed that he loved since seven and could not get over until sixteen years old, after receiving the news that she is married

2.   Augusta Leigh – Byron's six-years-senior half sister, remained intimate correspondence with him since Byron was sixteen; their even closer relationship began when Byron was 25 years old.  Byron and Augusta remained bold and intimate courtship until they were filed to separate from each other

3.   Mary Chaworth – a distant cousin Byron fell in love with and created many poems for in 1803

4.   Teresa Macri – a twelve-year-old girl Byron courted when he was in Greence?, for whom he wrote Maid of Athens. Byron considered to take her with him on his journey, but Teresa’s mother demanded so high a price that Byron decided to send Teresa the poem instead.

5.   Lady Caroline Lamb – an importunate aristocracy running after Byron until he took her back to her family

6.   Lady Oxford – a successive pursuer of Lady Caroline, sixteen years older than Byron

7.   Annabella Milbanke – Byron's legal wife, for whom Byron had no affection; filed for separation from him after their daughter was born.

8.   Claire (Jane) Clairmont – also bore Byron a daughter, Allegra, who Byron did not recognize as his own blood.  Claire followed Byron for some time and introduced him to the Shelleys.  She was the one who copied several works of Byron, but was refused and ignored later in Byron's life.  Claire completely disengaged from Byron when Allegra died

9.   Marianna Segati – Byron's mistress in Venice

10.  La Fornarina – another mistress after Segati

11.  Teresa Guiccioli – a 19-year-old Contessa, who Byron had affair with and followed to Ravenna when he was in mid-thirties. 

TOP

 Last Years
 

A.     Fatal Buffet

Byron's illegitimate daughter, Allegra's death severely affected him.  It is said that Byron might feel being perished for Allegra's death.  Possibly, the poet’s health was affected by the buffet as well.  He even did not have patience to see through Leigh Hunt's The Liberal issued then left for the support of the Greek war of independence.

B.     Died Abroad

            After leaving Teresa Guiccioli, Byron set off to Greece with her brother, Pietro Gamba.  Byron sponsored and supported the Greek war entirely and put all his energy in the issue despite his poor health. Pietro Gamba was the one who brought Byron's body back to England on April 9, 1824.

TOP

 

Reference

Coleman, Elliott.  Ed.  Poems of Byron, Keats, and Shelley.  The Programmed Classics, 1967.

Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, Vol. 3: Writers of the Romantic Period, 1789-1832.  Gale Research, 1992.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 vols.  Gale Research, 1998.

 
     
 
   

 

Copyright ©2009 國科會人文學中心 All Rights Reserved.